Skip to main content

Full text of "Additional speeches, addresses, and occasional sermons. Vol. 1"

See other formats


Cthntrtt x\f 




P ITSNtlnV bit _ KiLA^SK 1 5?S_ ELBERT _i 88_ 

Jit iltrutiutitm 

KATE&RIKE E. COMAE 



ADDITIONAL SPEECHES, 
ADDRESSES, 



AND 

OCCASIONAL SERMONS, 



IN TWO VOLUMES. 



BY 

THEODORE PARKER, 

MINISTER OF THE TWENTY-EIGHTH CONGREGATIONAL SOCIETY 
IN BOSTON. 



VOLUME I. 



BOSTON: 
LITTLE, BROWN AND COMPANY. 
1 8 5 5. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855, by 
THEODORE PARKER, 
the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. 



CAMBRIDGE! 
ALLEN AND FARNIIAM, PRINTERS. 



TO 



WENDELL PHILLIPS, 

WHOSE MARVELLOUS ELOQUENCE IS ONLY SURPASSED BY THE 
HUMANITY WHICH WIELDS THAT FIERY SWORD, 
WROUGHT OF JUSTICE AND BEAUTY, 



THESE VOLUMES ARE DEDICATED 
BY HIS FRIEND AND NEIGHBOR, 

THEODORE PARKER. 



PREFACE. 



Several years ago I began to write a large work on the 
" Historical Development of Religion in the various Races 
of Mankind," hoping to publish the first volume long before 
this time. But during the last five years, my attention has 
been mainly directed to quite different pursuits, less genial 
to my nature and more foreign to my culture : events of the 
saddest character and most dangerous tendency have forced 
other and indispensable duties upon me. For the assaults 
on the natural Rights of man have been so continuous, made 
with such vigor, and so often successful, and the consequent 
demand of resistance thereto, on the part of all friends of 
Humanity so urgent, that I have been forced to defer the 
welcome toil of converting the Facts of past History into 
Ideas of present Consciousness, and therewith helping to 
build up nobler Institutions for the future. Yes, the ene- 
mies of American liberty have so far prevailed, that within 
a few years, under federal enactments, Slavery has been 
spread over a once free territory more than twice as large 
as the original colonies at the Revolution ; and in. the " Free 
States " themselves the great Republican Safeguards of Lib- 



vi 



PREFACE. 



erty have been captured by the foes — who have already 
torn down the Habeas Corpus and are now seeking to de- 
stroy the Trial by Jury. With the approbation of many of 
the controlling men of this town — " literary," political, ju- 
dicial, commercial, and ecclesiastical, — innocent men have 
been seized, and without any trial before a "judicial power," 
in violation of " due Process of Law," sent into eternal 
bondage amid the gratulations of Christian ministers, and 
the applause of delighted officials. While I write, the 
Supreme Court of Massachusetts, continues the staunch 
defender of Slavery, supporting its most aggressive acts on 
the soil of our Commonwealth ; and the Probate Judge of 
this county — the legal guardian of Widows, and Orphans — 
is also a " legal " kidnapper, voluntarily and ostentatiously 
holding an office which, as he publicly maintains, " requires ' 
him to send blameless men into Slavery forever. 

In my own Parish I proudly number several colored fam- 
ilies, and have also numerous other acquaintances and 
friends among the colored citizens of Boston, some of them 
fugitives from Slavery, their liberty, dearer than life to 
them, is in continual peril. Any day, or night, by some 
miscreant, with no opportunity for defence, they may be 
sworn off into eternal bondage before some willing member 
of that family of kidnapping Commissioners whose Nature 
seems in preestablished harmony with that official function 
of stealing and enslaving innocent men. 

Besides, some years ago, presently after the passage of 
the fugitive slave bill, and the first kidnapping in Boston, 
consequent thereon, my fellow-citizens appointed me " Min- 
ister at large for Fugitive Slaves : " I could not decline the 
honorable office at such a time ; nay, I sought its duties 



PREFACE. 



vii 



well knowing their peril. How often must I protect my 
own parishioners from the clutch of men seeking to enslave 
them ! What scorn has been visited on me in consequence ! 
Four years ago, a wealthy and prominent merchant of Bos- 
ton declared to his fellows that if any men would assassinate 
Mr. Phillips and myself, and he were called as a Grand 
Juror to pass upon the act, he should " declare it a justifia- 
ble homicide ! " 

In such a time no man's liberty is safe ; — nay, the nation 
itself is brought into imminent peril, into worse dangers than 
War ever thundered upon our fathers' honored heads. In 
the last five years, it has often seemed as if our Republican 
Ship must perish, and this Democracy, like so many others, 
be whelmed under in the great deep of Despotism which has 
successively swallowed down so many liberal-minded and 
fair States. But such is my certainty of the ultimate triumph 
of the great Truths now fluttering about the consciousness 
of this generation, and such my confidence in the mass of 
the American People in the Northern States, that I cannot 
yet give over my fairest, dearest earthly hope — womanly 
and romantic though it seems. Else I should long since 
have left that little company of noble men and women 
who toil for the liberation of America, and are hitherto 
honored chiefly with the scorn of the controlling classes in 
this town; and should have returned from public wrangling 
to silent study — Science, Philosophy, Letters. But with 
such trust in the American People, I have devoted what 
powers I possess to the practical duties of the day : yet hop- 
ing in better times to see my cherished bud bloom into some 
well-proportioned flower. In the last few years I could 
work at my favorite task only by snatches — learn a few 



viii 



PREFACE. 



languages, collect books, and gather facts therefrom, or in 
the swift walks of a minister's practical business, in nocturnal 
railroad journeys, or other sleepless nights in stranger's 
houses, meditate the plan of the intended work. How long 
this will continue I know not, — only fear. 

These two volumes contain some of the published results 
of those labors of the last few years. Some of the speeches 
were purely extemporaneous ; for some others I had but the 
briefest time for composition. All but the opening article of 
each volume are reprinted from phonographic reports taken 
by my friends, — whose kindness moves them thus to da- 
guerreotype all my Sunday sermons. 'The brief speech 
before the Ministerial Conference I wrote down a few days 
after its delivery, and have marked with brackets [ ] the 
words since added : the " Thoughts on the Progress of Amer- 
ica," was never delivered, — for the terrible events of that 
period kept me in the court house during the session of the 
Convention. If any reader will compare the date of any 
Sermon or Speech, in these volumes with that of the occa- 
sion thereof, he will see that often very little time was left 
for the nicety of a work of art. But there w T as no special 
reason why the Sermon of Old Age, should have been de- 
livered at the time it was preached, having no reference to 
any special occasion. I put it at the end of the last vol- 
ume as a fitting termination of the book, as one day it may 
be of the reader's, or the writer's life. 

Perhaps I ought also to say that, pressed with other 
duties, I write this Preface in the presence of the Circuit 
Court of the United States, before which I am now ar- 
raigned as a Malefactor, charged with a " Misdemeanor," 



PREFACE. 



ix 



committed by speaking, in Faneuil Hall and elsewhere, a 
few words against the kidnapping of my fellow-citizens of 
Boston, some of them also my own parishioners ; and that 
the same man who so zealously supported the fugitive 
slave bill, and labored by its instrumentality to enslave 
men, is at this moment on the Bench to try me for resist- 
ing with a word the officer who sought to reduce a Bos- 
ton man to the condition of a Virginia Slave. 

Theodore Parker. 

Boston, U. S. Circuit Court Room, 
April 3, 1855. 



CONTENTS OF VOL. I. 



i. 

PAGE 

Speech at the Ministerial Conference in Boston, 

May 29, 1851 . . . ... . . . 1 

II. 

The Boston Kidnapping. A Discourse to commemo- 
rate the Rendition of Thomas Sims, delivered 
on the Anniversary thereof, April 12, 1852, before 
the Committee of Vigilance, at the Melodeon, in 
Boston . . 17 

III. 

The Aspect of Freedom in America. A Speech at 
the Mass Anti-Slavery Celebration of Indepen- 
dence at Abington, July 5, 1852 . . . .107 

IV. 

Discourse occasioned by the Death of Daniel Web- 
ster, PREACHED AT THE MELODEON ON SUNDAY, OC- 
TOBER 31, 1852 131 



xii 



CONTENTS. 



V. 

The Nebraska Question. Some Thoughts on the 
New Assault upon Freedom in America, and the 
General State of the Country in relation there- 
unto, SET FORTH IN A DISCOURSE PREACHED AT THE 

Music Hall, in Boston, on Sunday, February 12, 

1854 . . . . . . . . . . ' . 295 

VI. 

An Address on the Condition of America, before 
the New York City Anti-Slavery Society, at its 
First Anniversary, held at the Broadway Taber- 
nacle, May 12, 1854 381 



SPEECH 

AT THE 

MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE 

IN 

BOSTON, MAY 29, 1 8 5 1. 



VOL. I. L 



SPEECH. 



OCCASION OF THE SPEECH. 

The subject of debate was " The Duty of Minis- 
ters under the Fugitive Slave Law." This had 
been brought up, by Rev. Mr. May of Syracuse, at 
a " Business Meeting " of the American Unitarian 
Association, and was refused a hearing. It was 
again brought forward at the meeting of the Minis- 
terial Conference on Wednesday. The Conference 
adjourned to Thursday morning, at nine o'clock. 

On Tuesday and "Wednesday afternoons, a good 
deal was done to prevent the matter from being dis- 
cussed at all ; and done, as it seemed to me, in a dis- 
ingenuous and unfair manner. And on Thursday 
morning much time was consumed in mere trifles, 
apparently with the intention of wearing away the 
few hours which would otherwise be occupied in 
discussing the matter at issue, before the Conference. 



4 



SPEECH AT THE 



At length the question was reached, and the debate 
began. 

Several persons spoke. Mr. Pierpont made a 
speech, able and characteristic, in whicji he declared 
that the Fugitive Slave Bill lacked all the essentials 
of a law ; that it had no claim to obedience ; and 
that it could not be administered with a pure heart 
or unsullied ermine. 

Several others made addresses. Rev. Mr. Osgood 
of New York defended his ministerial predecessor, 
Rev. Dr. Dewey, — making two points. 

1. Dr. Dewey's conduct had been misrepresented ; 
he had never said that he would send his own 
Mother into slavery to preserve the Union ; it was 
only his Son, or Brother. [Mr. Parker remarked that 
the Principle was the same in all three cases, there 
was only a diversity of Measure.] 

2. Dr. Dewey's motives had been misrepresented. 
He had conversed with Dr. Dewey ; and Dr. Dewey 
felt very bad ; was much afflicted — even to weeping, 
at the misrepresentations made of him. He had 
not been understood. Dr. Dewey met Dr. Furness 
in the street, [Dr. Furness had most manfully 
preached against the Fugitive Slave Act, and there- 
by drawn upon himself much odium in Philadelphia, 
and the indignation of some of his clerical brethren 
elsewhere,] and said, " Brother Furness — you have 
taken the easy road to duty. It is for me to take 



MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE. 



5 



the hard and difficult way ! I wish it could be oth- 
erwise. But I feared the dissolution of the Union ! " 
etc. etc. 

Mr. Osgood then proceeded to censure " one of 
this Conference," [Mr. Parker,] for the manner in 
which he had preached on this matter of the Fugi- 
tive Slave Law. " It was very bad ; it was un- 
just ! " etc. 

Rev. Dr. Gannett spoke at some length. 

1. He said the brethren had laughed, and shown 
an indecorum that was painful ; it was unpardona- 
ble. [The chairman, Rev. Dr. Farley of Brooklyn, 
N. Y., thought otherwise.] 

2. He criticized severely the statement of Rev. Mr. 
Pierpont that the Fugitive Slave Law "could not 
be administered with a pure heart or unsullied er- 
mine." [Mr. Pierpont affirmed it anew, and briefly 
defended the statement. Mr. Gannett still appeared 
dissatisfied.] His parishioner, Mr. George T. Curtis, 
had the most honorable motives for attempting to 
execute the law. 

3. He (Dr. Gannett) was in a minority, and the 
majority had no right to think that he was not as 
honest in his opinion as the rest. 

4. Here Dr. Gannett made two points in de- 
fence of the Fugitive Slave Bill, of making and 
obeying it. 

- (1.) If we did not obey it the disobedience would 
1* 



6 



SPEECH AT THE 



lead to the violation of all Law. There were two 
things — Law without Liberty ; and Liberty without 
Law. Law without Liberty was only despotism ; 
Liberty without Law only license. Law without 
Liberty was the better of the two. If we began by 
disobeying any one law, we should come to violating 
all laws. 

(2.) We must obey it to preserve the Union : with- 
out the Fugitive Slave Law, the Union would have 
been dissolved ; if it were not obeyed it would also 
be dissolved, and then he did not know what would 
become of the cause of Human Freedom, and Hu- 
man Rights. 

Then Rev. George E. Ellis of Charlestown spoke. 
He would not have the Conference pass any resolu- 
tions ; he stood on the first Principles of Congrega- 
tionalism, — that the minister was not responsible to 
his brothers, but to himself and his God. So the 
brethren have no right to come here and discuss and 
condemn the opinions or the conduct of a fellow 
minister. We cannot bind one another; we have 
no right to criticize and condemn. 

Next he declared his hatred of the Fugitive Slave 
Bill. If we must either keep it or lose the Union, 
he said, " Perish the Union." He had always said 
so, and preached so. 



MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE. 



7 



After Mr. Ellis, Mr. Parker also spoke as fol- 
lows : — 

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen, — I am one of 
those that laughed with the rest, and incurred the 
displeasure of Dr. Gannett. It was not from light- 
ness however ; I think no one will accuse me of that. 
I am earnest enough ; so much so as to be grim. 
Still it is natural even for a grim man to laugh some- 
times; and in times like these I am glad we can 
laugh. 

I am glad my friend, Mr. Ellis, said the brethren 
had no right here, to criticize and condemn the opin- 
ions of one of their members: but I wish he and 
they had come to this opinion ten years ago. I 
should have been a gainer by it ; for this is the first 
time for nine years that I have attended this Confer- 
ence without hearing something which seemed said 
with the intention of insulting me. I will not say 
I should have been in general a happier man if Mr. 
Ellis's advice had been followed ; nay if he had 
always followed it himself ; but I should have sat with 
a little more comfort in this body if they had thought 
I was not responsible to them for my opinions. 

I am glad also to hear Dr. Gannett say we have 
no right to attribute improper motives to any one 
who differs from us in opinion. It was rather gra- 
tuitous, however ; no man has done it here to-day. 
But it is true, no man has a right thus to " judge 
another." But I will remind Dr. Gannett that a 



8 



SPEECH AT THE 



few years ago, he and I differed in opinion on a cer- 
tain matter of considerable importance, and after 
clearly expressing our difference, I said : " Well, 
there is an honest difference of opinion between us," 
and he said : " Not an honest difference of opinion, 
Brother Parker," for he called me " Brother " then, 
and not " Mr." as since, and now, when he has pub- 
licly said he cannot take my hand, fraternally. Still 
there was an honest difference of opinion on his part 
as well as mine. 

Mr. Osgood apologizes for Dr. Dewey; — that is, 
he defends his motives. I am glad he does not un- 
dertake to defend his conduct, only to deny that he 
[Dr. Dewey] uttered the words alleged. But I am 
sorry to say that I cannot agree with Mr. Osgood in 
his defence. I do not believe a word of it to be 
true : I have evidence enough that he said so. 

Mr. Gannett in demanding obedience to the 
Fugitive Slave Law made two points, namely ; if 
it be not obeyed, first, we shall violate all human 
laws ; and next, there will be a dissolution of the 
Union. 

Let me say a word of each. But first let me say 
that I attribute no unmanly motive to Mr. Gannett. 
I thought him honest when he denied that I was ; I 
think him honest now. I know him to be conscien- 
tious, laborious, and self-denying. I think he would 
sacrifice himself for another's good. I wish he could 
now sink through the floor for two or three minutes, 



MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE. 



9 



that I might say of him absent yet more of honora- 
ble praise, which I will not insult him with or ad- 
dress to him while before my face. Let me only say 
this, that if there be any men in this Conference who 
honor and esteem Dr. Gannett, I trust I am second 
to none of them. But I do not share his opinions 
nor partake of his fears. His arguments for obeying 
the Fugitive Slave Law, (ab inconvenienti) I think 
are of no value. 

If we do not obey this law, he says, We shall diso- 
bey all laws. It is not so. There is not a country 
in the world where there is more respect for human 
laws than in New England ; nowhere more than in 
Massachusetts. Even if a law is unpopular, it is 
not popular to disobey it. Our courts of justice are 
popular bodies, nowhere are Judges more respected 
than in New England. No officer, constable or 
sheriff, hangman or jail-keeper, is unpopular on ac- 
count of his office. Nay, it is popular to inform 
against your neighbor when he violates the law of 
the land. This is not so in any other country of the 
Christian world ; but the informer is infamous every- 
where else. 

Why are we thus loyal to law ? First, because 
we make the laws ourselves, and for ourselves ; and 
next, because the laws actually represent the Con- 
science of the People, and help them keep the laws 
of God. The value of human laws is only this — 
to conserve the Great Eternal Law of God ; to ena- 



10 SPEECH AT THE 

ble us to keep that ; to hinder us from disobeying 
that. So long as laws do this we should obey 
them ; New England will be loyal to such laws. 

But the fugitive slave law is one which contradicts 
the acknowledged precepts of the Christian religion, 
universally acknowledged. It violates the noblest 
instincts of humanity ; it asks us to trample on the 
Law of God. It commands what Nature, Religion, 
and God alike forbid ; it forbids what Nature, Relig- 
ion, and God alike command. It tends to defeat 
the object of all just human law; it tends to annihi- 
late the observance of the Law of God. So faith- 
ful to God, to Religion, to Human Nature, and in 
the name of Law itself, we protest against this par- 
ticular statute, and trample it under our feet. 

"Who is it that oppose the fugitive slave law? 
Men that have always been on the side of " law and 
order," and do not violate the statutes of men for 
their own advantage. This disobedience to the fu- 
gitive slave law is one of the strongest guaranties 
for the observance of any just law. You cannot 
trust a people who will keep law, because it is law ; 
nor need we distrust a people that will only keep a 
law when it is just. The fugitive slave law itself, 
if obeyed will do more to overturn the power of hu- 
man law, than all disobedience to it — the most 
complete. 

Then as to dissolution of the Union. I [have] 
thought if any State wished to go, she had a natural 



MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE. 



11 



right to do so. But what States wished to go ? 
Certainly not New England: by no means. Massa- 
chusetts has always been attached to the Union, — 
has made sacrifices for it. In 1775, if she had said. 
" There shall be no Revolution," there would have 
been none. But she furnished nearly half the 
soldiers for the war, and more than half of the 
money. In '87, if Massachusetts had said, " Let 
there be no Union ! " there would have been none. 
It was with difficulty that Massachusetts assented 
to the Constitution. But that once formed, she has 
adhered to it; faithfully adhered to the Union. When 
has Massachusetts failed in allegiance to it ? No 
man can say. There is no danger of a dissolution 
of the Union ; the men who make the cry know 
that it is vain and deceitful. You cannot drive us 
asunder ; — just yet. 

But suppose that was the alternative : that we 
must have the fugitive slave law, or dissolution. 
Which were the worst ; which comes nearest to the 
law of God which we all are to f keep. It is very 
plain. Now for the first time since '87, many men 
of Massachusetts calculate the value of the Union. 
What is it worth ? Is it worth to us so much as 
Conscience : so much as Freedom ; so much as alle- 
giance to the Law of God? let any man lay his 
hand on his heart and say. I will sacrifice all these 
for the union of the thirty States ? For my own 
part, I would rather see my own house burnt to the 



12 



SPEECH AT THE 



ground, and my family thrown, one by one, amid the 
blazing rafters of my own roof, and I myself be 
thrown in last of all, rather than have a single fugi- 
tive slave sent back as Thomas Sims was sent 
back. Nay, I should rather see this Union " dis- 
solved," till there was not a territory so large as the 
county of Suffolk ! Let us lose every thing but 
fidelity to God. 

Mr. Osgood reflects on me for my sermons ; they 
are poor enough. You know it if you try to read 
such as are in print. I know it better than you. 
But I am not a going to speak honeyed words and 
prophesy smooth things in times like these, and say, 
" Peace ! Peace ! when there is no peace ! " 

A little while ago we were told we must not 
preach on this matter of slavery, because it was " an 
abstraction ; " then because the " North was all 
right on that subject;" and then because "we had 
nothing to do with it," "we must go to Charleston 
or New Orleans to see it." But now it is a most 
concrete thing. We see what public opinion is on 
the matter of slavery ; what it is in Boston ; nay, 
what it is with members of this Conference. It 
favors slavery and this wicked law ! We need not 
go to Charleston and New Orleans to see slavery; 
our own Court House was a barracoon ; our officers 
of this city were slave hunters, and members of Uni- 
tarian churches in Boston are kidnappers. 

I have in my church black men, fugitive slaves. 



MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE. 



13 



They are the crown of my apostleship, the seal of 
my ministry. It becomes me to look after their bod- 
ies in order to " save their souls." This law has 
brought us into the most intimate connection with 
the sin of slavery. I have been obliged to take my 
own parishioners into my house to keep them out of 
the clutches of the kidnapper. Yes, gentlemen, I 
have been obliged to do that; and then to keep my 
doors guarded by day as well as by night. Yes, I 
have had to arm myself. I have written my ser- 
mons with a pistol in my desk, — loaded, a cap on 
the nipple, and ready for action. Yea, with a drawn 
sword within reach of my right hand. This I have 
done in Boston ; in the middle of the nineteenth 
century ; been obliged to do it to defend the [inno- 
cent] members of my own church, women as well 
as men! 

You know that I do not like righting. I am no 
non-resistant, "that nonsense* never went down 
with me." But it is no small matter which will 
compel me to shed human blood. But what could I 
do ? I was born in the little town where the fight 
and bloodshed of the Revolution began. The bones 
of the men who first fell in that war are covered by 
the monument at Lexington, it is " sacred to Liberty 

* Mr. May of Syracuse afterwards objected to the word non- 
sense as applied to non-resistance. The phrase was quoted from 
another member of the Conference, whose eye caught mine 
while speaking, and suggested his own language. 

VOL. I. 2 



14 



SPEECH AT THE 



and the Rights of Mankind : " those men fell " in 
the sacred cause of God and their country." This 
is the first inscription that I ever read. These men 
were my kindred. My grandfather drew the first 
sword in the Revolution ; my fathers fired the first 
shot ; the blood which flowed there was kindred to 
this which courses in my veins to-day. Besides that, 
when I write in my library at home, on the one side 
of me is the Bible which my fathers prayed over, 
their morning and their evening prayer, for nearly a 
hundred years. On the other side there hangs the 
firelock my grandfather fought with in the old French 
war, which he carried at the taking of Quebec, 
which he zealously used at the battle of Lexington, 
and beside it is another, a trophy of that war, the 
first gun taken in the Revolution, taken also by my 
grandfather. With these things before me, these 
symbols ; with these memories in me, when a parish- 
ioner, a fugitive from slavery, a woman, pursued by 
the kidnappers, came to my house, what could I do 
less than take her in and defend her to the last ? 
But who sought her life — or liberty ? A parishioner 
of my Brother Gannett came to kidnap a member 
of my church ; Mr. Gannett preaches a sermon to 
justify the fugitive slave law, demanding that it 
should be obeyed ; yes, calling on his church mem- 
bers to kidnap mine, and sell them into bondage for- 
ever. Yet all this while Mr. Gannett calls himself 
" a Christian," and me an " Infidel ; " his doctrine is 



MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE. 



15 



" Christianity," mine is only " Infidelity," " Deism, 
at the best!" 

O, my Brothers, I am not afraid of men, I can 
offend them. I care nothing for their hate, or their 
esteem. I am not very careful of my reputation. 
But I should not dare to violate the Eternal Law of 
God. You have called me " Infidel." Surely I differ 
widely enough from you in my theology. But 
there is one thing I cannot fail to trust ; that is the 
Infinite God, Father of the white man, Father 
also of the white man's slave. I should not dare vi- 
olate his Laws come what may come ; — should you ? 
Nay, I can love nothing so well as I love my 
God. 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



DISCOURSE 



TO COMMEMORATE THE 



EENDITION OF THOMAS SIMS, 



DELIVERED ON THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY THEREOF, 



APRIL 12, 185 2, 



BEFORE THE COMMITTEE OF VIGILANCE, 



AT THE MELODEON, IN BOSTON. 



2* 



DISCOURSE. 



There are times of private, personal joy and 
delight, when some good deed has been done, or 
some extraordinary blessing welcomed to the arms. 
Then a man stops, and pours out the expression of 
his heightened consciousness ; gives gladness words ; 
or else, in manly quietness, exhales to heaven his 
joy, too deep for speech. Thus the lover rejoices in 
his young heart of hearts, when another breast beats 



* Rev. Theodore Parker : — 

Dear Sir, — We know that we express the earnest and unan- 
imous wish of all who listened to your appropriate and eloquent 
address last Monday, in asking a copy of it for the press. 



Yours respectfully, 



Wendell Phillips, "| 
Henry L Bowditch, I 
Timothy Gilbert, I 
John P. Jewett, 
M. P. Hanson, 
John M. Spear, 




Boston, April 15, 1852. 



20 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



in conscious unison with his own, and two souls are 
first made one ; so a father rejoices, so a mother is 
filled with delight, her hour of anguish over, when 
their gladdened eyes behold the new-born daughter 
or the new-born son. Henceforth the day of newly 
welcomed love, the day of newly welcomed life, is 
an epoch of delight, marked for thanksgiving with a 
white stone in their calends of time, — their day of 
Annunciation or of Advent, a gladsome anniversary 
in their lives for many year. 

When these married mates are grown maturely 
wed, they rejoice to live over again their early loves, 
a second time removing the hindrances which once 
strewed all the way, dreaming anew the sweet pro- 
phetic dream of early hope, and bringing back the 
crimson mornings and the purple nights of golden 
days gone by, which still keep " trailing clouds of 
glory " as they pass. At their silver wedding, they 
are proud to see their children's manlyfying face, and 
remember how, one by one, these olive plants came 
up about their ever-widening hearth. 

When old and full of memories of earth, their 
hopes chiefly of heaven now, they love to keep 
the golden wedding of their youthful joy, chil- 
dren and children's children round their venerable 
board. 

Thus the individual man seeks to commemorate 
his private personal joy, and build up a monument 
of his domestic bliss. 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



21 



So, in the life of a nation, there are proud days, 
when the people joined itself to some great Idea of 
Justice, Truth, and Love ; took some step forward 
in its destiny, or welcomed to national baptism some 
institution born of its great idea. The anniversa- 
ries of such events become red-letter days in the al- 
manac of the nation ; days of rejoicing, till that peo- 
ple, old and gray with manifold experience, goes the 
way of all the nations, as of all its men. 

Thus, on the twenty-second of December, all New 
England thanks God for those poor Pilgrims whose 
wearied feet first found repose in this great wilder- 
ness of woods, not broken then. Each year, their 
children love to gather on the spot made famous 
now, and bring to mind the ancient deed ; to honor 
it with speech and song, not without prayers to God. 
That day there is a springing of New England blood, 
a beating of New England hearts ; not only here, 
but wherever two or three are gathered together in 
the name of New England, there is the memory of 
the Pilgrims in the midst of them; and among the 
prairies of the West, along the rivers of the South, 
far off where the Pacific waits to bring gold to our 
shores of rock and sand, — even there the annual 
song of gladness bursts from New England lips. 

So America honors the birth of the nation with a 
holiday for all the people. Then we look anew at 
the national idea, reading for the six and seventieth 
time the programme of our progress, — its first part a 



22 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



revolution ; we study our history before and since, 
bringing back the day of small things, when our 
fathers went from one kingdom to another people ; 
we rejoice at the wealthy harvest gathered from the 
unalienable rights of men, sown in new soil. On 
that day the American flag goes topmast high ; and 
men in ships, far off in the silent wilderness of the 
ocean, celebrate the nation's joyous day. In all the 
great cities of the Eastern World, American hearts 
beat quicker then, and thank their God. 

But a few days ago, the Hebrew nation commem- 
orated its escape out of Egypt, celebrating its Pass- 
over. Though three and thirty hundred years have 
since passed by, yet the Israelite remembers that his 
fathers were slaves in the land of the stranger ; that 
the Pyramids, even then a fact accomplished and 
representing an obsolete idea, were witnesses to the 
thraldom of his race ; and the joy of Jacob trium- 
phant over the gods of Egypt lights up the Hebrew 
countenance in the melancholy Ghetto of Rome, as 
the recollection of the hundred and one Pilgrims 
deepens the joy of the Californian New Englanders 
delighting in the glory of their nation, and their own 
abundant gain. The pillar of fire still goes before 
the Hebrew, in the long night of Israel's wandering ; 
and still the Passover is a day of joy and of proud 
remembrance. 

Every ancient nation has thus its calendar filled 
with joyful days. The worshippers of Jesus delight 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



23 



in their Christmas and their Easter; the Mahome- 
tans, in the Hegira of the Prophet. The year-book 
of mankind is thus marked all the way through with 
the red-letter days of history. And most beautifully 
do those days illuminate the human year, commem- 
orating the victories of the race, the days of triumph 
which have marked the course of man in his long 
and varied, but yet triumphant, march of many a 
thousand years. Thereby Hebrews, Buddhists, Chris- 
tians, Mahometans, men of every form of religion ; 
English, French, Americans, men of all nations, — 
are reminded of the great facts in their peculiar story ; 
and mankind learns the lesson they were meant to 
teach, writ in the great events of the cosmic life of 
man. 

These things should, indeed, be so. It were wrong 
to miss a single bright day from the story of a man, 
a nation, or mankind. Let us mark these days, and 
be glad. 

But there are periods of sorrow, not less than joy. 
There comes a shipwreck to the man ; and though 
he tread the waters under him, and come alive to 
land, yet his memory drips with sorrow for many a 
year to come. The widow marks her time by dat- 
ing from the day which shore off the better portion 
of herself, counting her life by years of widowhood. 
Marius, exiled, hunted after, denied fire and water, a 
price set on his head, just escaping the murderers and 



24 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



the sea, " sitting a fugitive on the ruins of Carthage " 
which he once destroyed, himself a sadder ruin now, 
folds his arms and bows his head in manly grief. 

These days also are remembered. It takes long 
to efface what is written in tears. Forever the father 
bears the annual wound that rent his child away : 
fifty years do not fill up the tomb which let a mortal 
through the earth to heaven. The anniversaries of 
grief return. At St. Helena, on the eighteenth of 
every June, how Napoleon remembered the morning 
and the evening of the day at Waterloo, the begin- 
ning and the ending of his great despair ! 

So the nations mourn at some great defeat, and 
hate the day thereof. How the Frenchman detests 
the very name of Waterloo, and wishes to wipe off 
from that battle field the monument of earth the 
allies piled thereon, commemorative of his nation's 
loss! Old mythologies are true to this feeling of 
mankind, when they relate that the spirit of some 
great man who died defeated comes and relates 
that he is sad : they tell that — 

" Great Pompey's shade complains that we are slow, 
And Scipio's ghost walks unrevenged amongst us." 

An antique nation, with deep faith in God, looks 
on these defeats as correction from the hand of 
Heaven. In sorrow the Jew counts from the day of 
his Exile, mourning that the city sitteth solitary that 
was full of people ; that among all her lovers she 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



25 



hath none to comfort her ; that she dwelleth among 
the heathen and hath no rest. But, he adds, the 
Lord afflicted her, because of the multitude of her 
transgressions ; for Jerusalem had greatly sinned. 
How, in the day of her miseries, the Jew remembers 
her pleasant things that she had in the days of old ; 
how her children have swooned from their wounds 
in the streets of their city, and have poured out their 
soul into their mother's bosom; Jerusalem is ruined, 
and Judah is forsaken, because their tongue and their 
doings were against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of 
his glory! 

It is well that mother and Marius should mourn 
their loss ; that Napoleon and the Hebrew should 
remember each his own defeat. Poets say, that, on 
the vigil of a fight, the old soldier's wounds smart 
afresh, bleeding anew. The poet's fancy should be 
a nation's fact. 

< 

But sometimes a man commits a wrong. He is 
false to himself, and stains the integrity of his soul. 
He comes to consciousness thereof, and the shame 
of the consequence is embittered by remorse for the 
cause. Thus Peter weeps at his own denial, and 
Judas hangs himself at the recollection of his treach- 
ery ; so David bows his penitent forehead, and lies 
prostrate in the dust. The anniversary of doing 
wrong is writ with fire on the dark tablets of mem- 
ory. How a murderer convicted, yet spared in jail, 

vol. i. 3 



26 THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 

— or, not convicted, still at large, — must remember 
the day when he first reddened his hand at his broth- 
er's heart ! As the remorseless year brings back the 
day, the hour, the moment and the memory of the 
deed, what recollections of ghastly visages come back 
to him ! 

I once knew a New England man who had dealt 
in slaves ; I now know several such ; but this man 
stole his brothers in Guinea to sell in America. He 
was a hard, cruel man, and had grown rich by the 
crime. But, hard and cruel as he was, at the men- 
tion of the slave-trade, the poor wretch felt a torture 
at his iron heart which 1 it was piteous to behold. 
His soul wrought within him like the tossings of 
the tropic sea about his ship, deep fraught with hu- 
man wretchedness. He illustrated the torments of 
that other " middle passage," not often named. 

Benedict Arnold, successful in his treason, safe, — 
only Andre hanged, not he, the guilty man, — pen- 
sioned, feasted, rich, yet hated by all ingenuous 
souls, not great enough to pity, hateful to himself; 
how this first great public shame of New England 
must have remembered the twenty-fifth September, 
and have lived over again each year the annual trea- 
son of his heart! 

It is well for men to pause on such days, the an- 
niversary of their crime, and see the letters which 
sin has branded in their consciousness come out 
anew, and burn, even in the scars they left behind. 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



27 



In sadness, in penitence, in prayers of resolution, 
should a man mark these days in his own sad calen- 
dar. They are times for a man to retire within him- 
self, to seek communion with his God, and cleanse 
him of the elephantine leprosy his sin has brought 
upon his soul. 

There are such days in the life of a nation, when 
it stains its own integrity, commits treason against 
mankind, and sin against the most high God ; when 
a proud king, or wicked minister, — his rare power 
consorting with a vulgar aim, — misled the people's 
heart, abused the nation's strength, organized ini- 
quity as law, condensing a tvorld of wicked will into 
a single wicked deed, and wrought some hideous 
Bartholomew massacre in the face of the sun. The 
anniversary of such events is a day of horror and of 
shivering to mankind ; a day of sorrow to the guilty 
State which pricks with shame at the anniversary of 
the deed. 

The twelfth of April is such- a day for Boston 
and this State. It is the first anniversary of a 
great crime, — a crime against the majesty of Mas- 
sachusetts law, and the dignity of the Consti- 
tution of the United States : of a great wrong, — 
a wrong against you and me, and all of us, 
against the babe not born, against the nature of 
mankind ; of a great sin, — a sin against the Law 
God wrote in human nature, a sin against the Infi- 



28 



THE BOSTON KIDXAPPIXG. 



nite God. It was a great crime, a great wrong, a 
great sin, on the side of the American government, 
which did the deed : on the people's part it was a 
great defeat ; your defeat and mine. 

Out of the iron house of bondage, a man, guilty 
of no crime but love of liberty, fled to the people of 
Massachusetts. He came to us a wanderer, and 
Boston took him in to an unlawful jail ; hungry, and 
she fed him with a felon's meat ; thirsty, she gave 
him the gall and vinegar of a slave to drink ; naked, 
she clothed him with chains ; sick and in prison, he 
cried for a helper, and Boston sent him a marshal 
and a commissioner ; she set him between kidnap- 
pers, among the most infamous of men, and they 
made him their slave. Poor and in chains, the gov- 
ernment of the nation against him, he sent round to 
the churches his petition for their prayers ; — the 
churches of commerce, they gave him their curse : 
he asked of us the sacrament of freedom, in the 
name of our God ; and in the name of their Trinity, 
the Trinity of money, — Boston standing as god- 
mother at the ceremony, — in the name of their God 
they baptized him a slave. The New England 
church of commerce said, " Thy name is Slave. I 
baptize thee in the name of the gold eagle, and of 
the silver dollar, and of the copper cent." 

This is holy ground that we stand on : godly men 
laid here the foundation of a Christian Church ; laid 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



29 



it with prayers, laid it with tears, laid it in blood. 
Noble men laid here the foundation of a Christian 
State, with all the self-denial of New England men ; 
laid that with prayers, with tears, laid that in 
blood. They sought a church without a bishop, a 
state without a king, a community without a lord, 
and a family without a slave. Yet even here in 
Massachusetts, which first of American colonies 
sent forth the idea of "inherent and unalienable 
rights," and first offered the conscious sacrament of 
her blood ; here, in Boston, which once was full of 
manly men who rocked the Cradle of Liberty, — 
even here the rights of man were of no value and 
of no avail. Massachusetts took a man from the 
horns of her altar, — he had fled to her for protection, 
— and voluntarily gave him up to bondage without 
end ; did it with her eyes wide open ; did it on pur- 
pose ; did it in notorious violation of her own law, 
in consciousness of the sin ; did it after " fasting and 
prayer." * 

It is well for us to come together, and consider 
the defeat which you and I have suffered when the 
rights of man were thus cloven down, and look at 
the crime committed by those whom posterity will 
rank among infidels to Christianity, among the ene- 



* The annual day of " fasting and prayer," came between the 
seizure of Mr. Sims and his rendition ! Boston fasted and made 
long prayers, and devoured a man's liberty ! 

3* 



30 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



mies of man ; it is well to commemorate the event, 
the disgrace of Boston, the perpetual shame and 
blot of Massachusetts. Yet it was not the People 
of Massachusetts who did the deed : it was only 
their government. The officers are one thing ; and 
the people, thank God, are something a little dif- 
ferent. 

If a deed which so outraged the people had been 
done by the government of Massachusetts a hundred 
years ago, there would have been a " Day of Fasting 
and Prayer," and next a muster of soldiers : one day 
the people would have thought of their trust in God, 
and the next looked to it that their powder was dry. 
Now nobody fasts, save to the eye ; he prays best 
who, not asking God to do man's work, prays peni- 
tence, prays resolutions, and then prays deeds, thus 
supplicating with heart and head and hands. This 
is a day for such a prayer. The twelfth of last 
April issued the proclamation which brings us here 
to-day. 

We have historical precedent for this commemora- 
tion, if men need such an argument. After the Bos- 
ton Massacre of the fifth of March, 1770, the people 
had annually a solemn commemoration of the event. 
They had their great and honored men to the pulpit 
on that occasion: Lovell, child of a tory father, — 
the son's patriotism brought him to a British jail; 
Tudor and Dawes, honorable and honored names ; 
Thacher, "the young Elijah " of his times ; Warren, 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



31 



twice called to that post, but destined soon to perish 
by a British hand ; John Hancock, — his very name 
was once the pride and glory of the town. They 
stood here, and, mindful of their brothers slain in the 
street not long to bear the name of " King," taught 
the lesson of liberty to their fellow men. The men- 
ace of British officers, their presence in the aisles of 
the church, the sight of their weapons on the pulpit- 
stairs, did not frighten Joseph Warren, — not a hire- 
ling shepherd, though he came in by the pulpit-win- 
dow, while soldiers crammed the porch. Did they 
threaten to stop his month ? It took bullet and bay- 
onet both to silence his lips. John Hancock was of 
eyes too pure to fear the government of Britain. 
Once, when Boston was in the hands of the enemy 
of freedom, — I mean the foreign enemy, — the dis- 
course could not be delivered here; Boston adjourned 
to Watertown to hear "the young Elijah" ask 
whether " the rising empire of America shall be an 
empire of slaves or of free men." But on that day 
there w^as another commemoration held hard by; 
" one George Washington " discoursed from the 
" Heights of Dorchester ; " and, soon after, Israel 
Putnam marched over the Neck, — and there was not 
a " Red-coat" south of the North End. The March 
of '76 was not far from the July of '76, when yet 
another discourse got spoken. 

For twelve years did our fathers commemorate 
the first blood shed here by soldiers " quartered 



32 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



among us without our consent;" yes, until there was 
not a " Red-coat " left in the land ; and the gloom 
of the Boston Massacre was forgot in the blaze of 
American independence ; the murder of five men, in 
the freedom of two millions. 

The first slave Boston has officially sent back 
since 1770 was returned a year ago. Let us com- 
memorate the act, till there is not a kidnapper left in 
all the North ; not a kidnapper lurking in a lawyer's 
office in all Boston, or in a merchant's counting- 
room; not a priest who profanes his function by 
flouting at the Higher Law of God ; till there is not 
a slave in America ; and sorrow at the rendition of 
Thomas Sims shall be forgotten in the freedom of 
three million men. Let us remember the Boston 
Kidnapping, as our fathers kept the memory of the 
Boston Massacre. 

It is a fitting time to come together. There was 
once a " dark day " in New England, when the vis- 
ible heavens were hung with night, and men's faces 
gathered blackness, less from the sky above than 
from the fears within. But New England never saw 
a day so black as the twelfth of April, 1851 ; a day 
whose Egyptian darkness will be felt for many a 
year to come. 

New England has had days of misfortune before 
this, and of mourning at the sin of her magistrates. 
In 1761, a mean man in a high place in the British 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



33 



Island, thinking that "discussion must be sup- 
pressed," declared that citizens " are not to demand 
the reasons of measures ; they must, and they easily 
may, be taught better manners." The British min- 
istry decided to tax the colonies without their con- 
sent. Massachusetts decided to be taxed only with 
her own consent. The Board of Trade determined 
to collect duties against the will of the people. The 
Government insisted ; the mercenaries of the Cus- 
tom-House in Boston applied for " Writs of Assist- 
ance," authorizing them to search for smuggled 
goods where and when they pleased, and to call on 
the people to help in the matter. The mercenary 
who filled the Governor's chair favored the outrage. 
The Court, obedient to power, and usually on the 
side of prerogative and against the right, seemed 
ready to pervert the law against Justice. Massa- 
chusetts felt her liberties in peril, and began the War 
of Ideas. James Otis, an irregular but brilliant and 
powerful man from Barnstable and an acute lawyer, 
resigned his post of Advocate to the Admiralty; 
threw up his chance of preferment, and was deter- 
mined " to sacrifice estate, ease, health, applause, 
and even life, to the sacred calls of my country," 
and in opposition to that kind of power " which cost 
one King of England his head, and another his 
throne." 

It was a dark day in Massachusetts when the 
Writs of Assistance were called for ; when the tal- 



34 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



ents, the fame, the riches, and the avarice of Chief- 
Justice Hutchinson, the respectability of venerable 
men, the power of the crown and its officers, were 
all against the right ; but that brave lawyer stood up, 
his words " a flame of fire," to demonstrate " that 
all arbitrary authority was unconstitutional and 
against the law." His voice rung through the land 
like a war-psalm of the Hebrew muse. Hutchinson, 
rich, false, and in power, cowered before the " great 
incendiary " of New England. John Adams, a 
young lawyer from Quincy, who stood by, touched 
by the same inspiration, declared that afterwards he 
could never read the Acts of Trade without anger, 
nor " any portion of them without a curse." If the 
Court was not convinced, the people were. It was 
a dark day when the Writs of Assistance were called 
for; but the birthplace of Franklin took the light- 
ning out of that thundering cloud, and the storm 
broke into rain which brought forth the green glories 
of Liberty-tree, that soon blossomed all over in the 
radiance of the bow of promise set on the departing 
cloud. The seed from that day of bloom shall sow 
with blessings all the whole wide world of man. 

There was another dark time when the Stamp 
Act passed, and the day came for the use of the 
Stamps, Nov. 1st, 1765. The people of Boston 
closed their shops ; they muflled and tolled the bells 
of the churches; they hung on Liberty-tree the 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



35 



effigy of Mr. Huske, a New Hampshire traitor of 
that time, who had removed to London, got a seat 
in Parliament, and was said to have proposed the 
Stamp Act to the British minister. Beside him they 
hung the image of Grenville, the ministerial author 
of the Act. Tn the afternoon, the public cut down 
the images ; carried them in a cart, thousands fol- 
lowing to the Town-House, where the Governor 
and Council were in session ; carried the effigies sol- 
emnly through the building, and thence to the gal- 
• lows, where, after hanging a while, they were cut 
down and torn to pieces. All was done quietly, or- 
derly, and with no violence. Tt was All- Saints- 
Day : two hundred and forty-eight years before, Mar- 
tin Luther had pilloried the Papacy on a church- 
door at Wittenberg, not knowing what would fall at 
the sound of his hammer nailing up the Ninety-five 
Theses. 

Nobody would touch the hated stamps. Mr. Oli- 
ver, the Secretary of the Province, and " distributor 
of stamps," had been hanged in effigy before. His 
stamp-office had already given a name to the sea, 
" Oliver's Dock " long commemorating the fate of 
the building. Dismayed by the voice of the people, 
he resigned his office. Not satisfied with that, the 
people had him before an immense meeting at Lib- 
erty-tree ; and at noonday, under the very limb 
where he had been hung in effigy, before a Justice 
of the Peace he took an oath that he never would 



36 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



take any measures .... for enforcing the Stamp Act 
in America. Then, with three cheers for liberty, Mr. 
Oliver was allowed to return home. He ranked as 
the third crown-officer in the Colony. Where could 
you find " one of his Majesty's Justices of the 
Peace" to administer such an oath before such a 
" town-meeting " ? A man was found to do that 
deed, and leave descendants to be proud of it; for, 
after three generations have passed by, the name of 
Richard Dana is still on the side of liberty. 

No more of stamps in Boston at that time. In 
time of danger, it is thought " a good thing to have 
a man in the house." Boston had provided herself. 
There were a good many who did not disgrace the 
name. Amongst others, there was one of such " ob- 
stinacy and inflexible disposition," said Hutchinson, 
" that he could never be conciliated by any office or 
gift whatever." Yet Samuel Adams was " not rich, 
nor a bachelor." There was another, one John 
Adams, son of a shoemaker at Quincy, not a whit 
less obstinate or hard to conciliate with gifts. When 
he heard Otis in that great argument, he felt "ready 
to take up arms against the Writs of Assistance." 
One day, the twenty-second of December of that 
year, he writes in his journal : " At home with my 
family, thinking." In due time, something came of 
his thinking. He wrote, " By inactivity we discover 
cowardice, and too much respect for the Act." 

The Stamp Act was dead in New England and 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



37 



in all America. Very soon the Ministry were glad 
to bury their dead. 

It was in such a spirit that Boston met the Writs 
of Assistance and the Stamp Act. What came of 
the resistance? When Parliament came together, 
the " great commoner " said, — every boy knew the 
passage by heart when I went to school, — "I re- 
joice that America has resisted. Three millions of 
people so dead to all the feelings of liberty as volun- 
tarily to be slaves, would have been fit instruments 
to make slaves of all the rest." The Ministry still 
proposed to put down America by armies. Mr. Pitt 
said : " America, if she fell, would fall like the strong 
man. She would embrace the pillars of the state, 
and pull down the Constitution along with her. But 
she would not fall." " I would advise," said he, 
" that the Stamp Act be repealed, absolutely, totally, 
and immediately ; " " that the reason for the repeal 
be assigned; that it was founded on an erroneous 
principle." Repealed it was, "absolutely, totally, 
and immediately." 

But the British Ministry still insisted on taxation 
without representation. Massachusetts continued 
her opposition. There was a Merchants' Meeting in 
Boston in favor of freedom. It assembled from time 
to time, and had a large influence. Men agreed not 
to import British goods : they would wear their old 
clothes till they could weave new ones in America, 

vol. i. 4 



38 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



and kill no more lambs till they had abundance of 
wool. Boston made a non-importation agreement. 
Massachusetts wrote a " circular letter " to the other 
colonies, asking them to make common cause with 
her, — a circular which the king thought " of the 
most dangerous and factious character." On the 
seventeenth of June, 1768, the town of Boston in- 
structed its four representatives, Otis, Cushing, 
Adams, and Hancock : " It is our unalterable resolu- 
tion at all times to assert and vindicate our dear and 
invaluable rights, at the utmost hazard of our lives 
and fortunes." * This seemed to promise another 
" seventeenth of June," if the Ministry persisted in 
their course. 

On the fifteenth of May, 1770, she again issued 
similar instructions. " James I." says the letter of 
instruction, " more than once laid it down, that, as 
it was atheism and blasphemy in a creature to dis- 
pute what the Deity may do, so it is presumptuous 
and sedition in a subject to dispute what a king may 
do in the height of his powers." " Good Christians," 
said he, " will be content with God's will revealed 
in his word, and good subjects will rest in the king's 
will revealed in his law." That was the " No Higher 
Law Doctrine " of the time. See how it went down 
at Boston in 1770. " Surely," said the people of 
Boston, in town-meeting assembled, " nothing except 



* Town Kecords of that date. 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



39 



the ineffable contempt of the reigning monarch di- 
verted that indignant vengeance which would other- 
wise have made his illustrious throne to tremble, and 
hurled the royal diadem from his forfeit head."* 
Such was the feeling of Boston towards a govern- 
ment which flouted at the eternal law of God. 

The people claimed that law was on their side ; 
even Sir Henry Finch having said, in the time of 
Charles I., " The king's prerogative stretcheth not to 
the doing of any wrong." But, Boston said, " Had 
the express letter of the law been less favorable, and 
were it possible to ransack up any absurd, obsolete 
notions which might have seemed calculated to pro- 
pagate slavish doctrines, we should by no means 
have been influenced to forego our birthright ; " for 
" mankind will not be reasoned out of their feelings 
of humanity." " We remind you, that the further 
nations recede and give way to the gigantic strides 
of any powerful despot, the more rapidly will the 
fiend advance to spread wide desolation." " It is now 
no time to halt between two opinions." " We enjoin 
you at all hazards to deport . . . like the faithful rep- 
resentatives of a free-born, awakened, and deter- 
mined people, who, being impregnated with the spirit 
of liberty in conception, and nurtured in the princi- 
ples of freedom from their infancy, are resolved to 
breathe the same celestial ether, till summoned to 



* Town Records. 



40 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



resign the heavenly flame by that omnipotent God 
who gave it." That was the language of Boston in 
in 1770.* 

True there were men who took the other side; 
some of them from high and honorable convictions ; 
others from sordid motives ; some from native big- 
otry and meanness they could not help. But the 
mass of the people went for the rights of the people. 
It was not a mere matter of dollars and cents that 
stirred the men of Massachusetts then. True the 
people had always been thrifty, and looked well to 
the " things of this world." But threepence duty on 
a pound of tea, six farthings on a gallon of molasses, 
was not very burdensome to a people that had a 
school before there was any four-footed beast above 
a swine in the colony, — a people that once taxed 
themselves thirteen shillings and eight pence in a 
pound of income ! It was the principle they looked 
at. They would not have paid three barley-corns on 
a hogshead of sugar, and admit the right of Parlia- 
ment to levy the tax. This same spirit extended to 
the other colonies : Virginia and Massachusetts 
stood side by side ; New York with Boston. 

It was a dark day for New England when the 
Stamp Act became a law ; but it was a much darker 
day when the Fugitive Slave Bill passed the Con- 



* Town Records. 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



41 



gress of the United States. The Acts of Trade and 
the Stamp Act were the work of foreign hands, of 
the ministers of England, not America. A traitor 
of New Hampshire was thought to have originated 
the Stamp Act ; but even he did not make a speech 
in its favor. The author of the Act was never within 
three thousand miles of Boston. But the Fugitive 
Slave Bill was the work of Americans ; it had its 
great support from another native of New Hamp- 
shire ; it got the vote of the member for Boston, who 
faithfully represented the money which sent him 
there ; though, God be thanked, not the men ! 

When the Stamp Act came to be executed in 
Boston, the ships hung their flags at half-mast ; the 
shops were shut, the bells were tolled ; ship, shop, 
and church all joining in a solidarity of affliction, in 
one unanimous lament. But, when the Fugitive 
Slave Bill came to Boston, the merchants and poli- 
ticians of the city fired a hundred guns at noonday, 
in token of their joy! How times have changed! 
In 1765, when Huske of New Hampshire favored 
the Stamp Act, and Oliver of Boston accepted the 
office of distributor of stamps, the people hung their 
busts in effigy on Liberty-tree ; Oliver must ignomin- 
iously forswear his office. After two of the Massa- 
chusetts delegation in Congress had voted for the 
Missouri Compromise in 1819, when they came back 
to Boston, they were hissed at on 'Change, and were 
both of them abhorred for the deed which spread 

4* 



42 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



slavery west of the great river. To this hour their 
names are hateful all the way from Boston to Lanes- 
boro'. But their children are guiltless : let us not 
repeat the fathers' name. But what was the Stamp 
Act or the Missouri Compromise to the Fugitive 
Slave Bill ! One was looking at a hedge, the other 
stealing the sheep behind it. Yet when the repre- 
sentative of the money of Boston, who voted for 
the bill, returned, he was flattered and thanked by 
two classes of men ; — by those whom money makes 
" respectable " and prominent ; by those whom love 
of money makes servile and contemptible. When 
he resigned his place, Boston sent another, with the 
command, " Go thou and do likewise ; " and he has 
just voted again for the Fugitive Slave Bill, — he 
alone of all the delegation of Massachusetts. 

The Stamp Act levied a tax on us in money, and 
Boston would not pay a cent, hauled down the flags, 
shut up the shops, tolled the church-bells, hung its 
authors in effigy, made the third officer of the crown 
take oath not to keep the law, cast his stamp-shop 
into the sea. The Slave Act levied a tax in men, 
and Boston fired a hundred guns, and said, " We 
are ready; we will catch fugitives for the South. It 
is a dirty work, too dirty for any but Northern hands ; 
but it will bring us clean money." Ship, shop, and 
church seemed to feel a solidarity of interest in the 
measure ; the leading newspapers of the town were 
full of glee. 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



43 



The Fugitive Slave Bill became a law on the 
eighteenth of September, 1850. Eighty-five years 
before that date, there was a town-meeting in Bos- 
ton, at which the people instructed their representa- 
tives in the General Assembly of Massachusetts. It 
was just after the passage of the Stamp Act. Bos- 
ton told her servants "by no means to join in any 
measures for countenancing and assisting in the exe- 
cution of the same [the Stamp Act] ; but to use 
your best endeavors in the General Assembly to have 
the inherent and unalienable rights of the people of 
this Province asserted, vindicated, and left upon the 
public record, that posterity may never have reason 
to charge the present times with the guilt of tamely 
giving them away." * 

It was " voted unanimously that the same be 
accepted." This is the earliest use of the phrase 
"inherent and unalienable rights of the people" 
which I have yet found. It has the savor of James 
Otis, who had " a tongue of flame and the inspiration 
of a seer." It dates from Boston, and the eighteenth 
day of September, eighty-five years before the pas- 
sage of the Fugitive Slave Bill. In 1850 where was 
the town-meeting of '65? James Otis died without 
a son ; but a different man sought to " fence in " the 
Slave Act, and fence men from their rights.f 



Town Records. 



f Hon. Harrison Gray Otis. 



44 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



The passage of the Fugitive Slave Bill was a sad 
event to the colored citizens of the State. At that 
time there were 8,975 persons of color in Massachu- 
setts. In thirty-six hours after the passage of the 
bill was known here, five and thirty colored persons 
applied to a well-known philanthropist in this city for 
counsel.* Before sixty hours passed by, more than 
forty had fled. The laws of Massachusetts could not 
be trusted to shelter her own children : they must 
flee to Canada. " This arm, hostile to tyrants," says 
the motto of the State, " seeks rest in the enjoyment 
of liberty." Then it ought to have been changed, 
and read, " This arm, once hostile to tyrants, confed- 
erate with them now, drives off her citizens to for- 
eign climes of liberty." 

The word "commissioner" has had a traditional 
hatred ever since our visitation by Sir Edmund 
Andros ; it lost none of its odious character when 
it became again incarnate in a kidnapper. With 
Slave Act commissioners to execute the bill, with 
such "ruling" as we have known on the Slave Act 
bench, such swearing by " witnesses " on the slave 
stand, any man's freedom is at the mercy of the kid- 
napper and his "commissioned" attorney. The one 
can manufacture " evidence " or " enlarge " it, the 
other manufacture "law;" and, with such an admin- 



* Mr. Francis Jackson. 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



45 



istration and such creatures to serve its wish, what 
colored man was safe ? Men in peril have a keen 
instinct of their danger ; the dark -browed mothers in 
Boston, they wept like Rachel for her first-born, 
refusing to be comforted. There was no comfort for 
them save in flight : that must be not in the winter, 
but into the winter of Canada, which is to the Afri- 
can what our rude climate is to the goldfinch and the 
canary-bird. 

Some of the colored people had acquired a little 
property ; they got an honest living ; had wives and 
children, and looked back upon the horrors of sla- 
very, which it takes a woman's affectionate genius 
to paint, as you read her book ; looked on them as 
things for the memory, for the imagination, not as 
things to be suffered again. But the Fugitive Slave 
Bill said to every black mother, " This may be your 
fate ; the fate of your sons and your daughters." It 
was possible to all ; probable to many ; certain to 
some, unless they should flee. 

It was a dark bill for them ; but the blackness of 
the darkness fell on the white men. The colored 
men were only to bear the cross ; the whites made 
it. I would take the black man's share in suffering 
the Slave Act, rather than the white man's sin in 
making it ; ay, as I would rather take Hancock's 
than Huske's share of the history of the Stamp Act. 
This wicked law has developed in the Africans some 
of the most heroic virtues; in the Yankee it has 



46 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



brought out some of the most disgraceful examples 
of meanness that ever dishonored mankind. 

The Boston Massacre, — you know what that 
was, and how the people felt when a hireling soldiery, 
sent here to oppress, shot down the citizens of Bos- 
ton on the fifth of March, 1770. Then the blood of 
America flowed for the first time at the touch of 
British steel. But that deed was done by foreigners ; 
thank God, they were not Americans born ; done by 
hirelings, impressed into the army against their will, 
and sent here without their consent. It was done in 
hot blood ; done partly in self-defence, after much 
insult and wrong. The men who fired the shot 
were brought to trial. The great soul of John 
Adams stood up to defend them, Josiah Quincy 
aiding the unpopular work. A Massachusetts jury 
set the soldiers free, — they only obeyed orders, the 
soldier is a tool of his commander. Such was the 
Boston Massacre. Yet hear how John Hancock 
spoke on the fourth anniversary thereof, when passion 
had had time to pass away : — 

" Tell me, ye bloody butchers ! ye villains high 
and low! ye wretches who contrived, as well as you 
who executed, the inhuman deed ! do you not feel 
the goads and stings of conscious guilt pierce 
through your savage bosoms ? Though some of 
you may think yourselves exalted to a height that 
bids defiance to the arms of human justice, and 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



47 



others shroud yourselves beneath the mask of hypoc- 
risy, and build your hopes of safety on the low arts 
of cunning, chicanery, and falsehood ; yet do you 
not sometimes feel the gnawings of that worm 
which never dies ? Do not the injured shades of 
Maverick, Gray, Caldwell, Attucks, and Carr, attend 
you in your solitary walks, arrest you even in the 
midst of your debaucheries, and fill even your dreams 
with terror ? 

" Ye dark, designing knaves ! ye murderers ! par- 
ricides ! how dare you thread upon the earth which 
has drank in the blood of slaughtered innocents, 
shed by your wicked hands ? How dare you breathe 
that air which wafted to the ear of Heaven the 
groans of those who fell a sacrifice to your ac- 
cursed ambition? But if the laboring earth doth 
not expand her jaws ; if the air you breathe is not 
commissioned to be the minister of death; yet 
hear it, and tremble ! the eye of Heaven penetrates 
the darkest chambers of the soul ; traces the lead- 
ing clue through all the labyrinths which your in- 
dustrious folly has devised ; and you, however you 
may have screened yourselves from human eyes, 
must be arraigned, must lift your hands, red with the 
blood of those whose deaths you have procured, at 
the tremendous bar of God." 

But the Boston kidnapping was done by Boston 
men. The worst of the kidnappers were natives of 
the spot. It was done by volunteers, not impressed 



43 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



to the work, but choosing their profession, — loving 
the wages of sin, — and conscious of the loathing, 
and the scorn they are all sure to get, and bequeathe to 
their issue. They did it deliberately ; it was a cold- 
blooded- atrocity : they did it aggressively, not in self- 
defence, but in self-degradation. They did it for 
their pay : let them have it ; verily, they shall have 
their reward. 

When the Fugitive Slave Bill became a law, it 
seems to me the Governor ought to have assembled 
the Legislature ; that they should have taken ade- 
quate measures for protecting the eight thousand 
nine hundred and seventy-five persons thus left at the 
mercy of any kidnapper ; that officers should have 
been appointed, at the public cost, to defend these 
helpless men, and a law passed, punishing any one 
who should attempt to kidnap a man in this Com- 
monwealth. Massachusetts should have done for 
Justice what South Carolina has long ago done for 
injustice. But Massachusetts had often seen her 
citizens put into the jails of the North, for no crime 
but their complexion, and looked on with a drowsy 
yawn. Once, indeed, she did send two persons, one 
to Charleston and the other to New Orleans, to 
attend to this matter : both of them were turned out 
of the South with insult and contempt. After that, 
Massachusetts did nothing ; the Commonwealth did 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



49 



nothing ; the Commonwealth did not even scold : 
she sat mute as the symbolic fish in the State 
House. The Bay State turned non-resistant ; — 
" passive obedience 99 should have been the motto 
then. So, when a bill was passed, putting the liberty 
of her citizens at the mercy of a crew of legalized 
kidnappers, the Governor of Massachusetts did noth- 
ing. Boston fired her hundred guns under the very 
eyes of John Hancock's house ; her servile and her 
rich men complimented their representative for voting 
away the liberty of nine thousand of her fellow- 
citizens. Was Boston Massachusetts ? It is still 
the Governor. 

As the Government of Massachusetts did nothing, 
the next thing would have been for the People to 
come together in a great mass meeting, and decree, 
as their fathers had often done, that so unjust a law 
should not be kept in the old Bay State, and appoint 
a committee to see that no man was kidnapped and 
carried off; and, if the kidnappers still insisted on 
kidnapping our brothers here in Massachusetts, the 
people could have found a way to abate that nui- 
sance as easily as to keep off the stamped paper in 
1765. The commissioners of the Slave Act might 
as easily be dealt with as the commissioners of the 
Stamp Act. 

I love law, and respect law, and should be slow to 
violate it. I would suffer much, sooner than violate 
a statute that was simply inexpedient. There is no 

vol. i. 5 



50 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



natural reason, perhaps, for limiting the interest of 
money to six per cent. ; but as the law of Massa- 
chusetts forbids more, I would not take more. I 
should hate to interrupt the course of law, and put 
violence in its place. 



" The way of ancient ordinance, though it winds, 
Is yet no devious way. Straightforward goes 
The lightning's path, and straight the fearful path 
Of the cannon-ball. Direct it flies, and rapid; 
Shattering that it may reach, and shattering what it reaches. 
My son ! the road the human being travels, — 
That on which blessing comes and goes, — doth follow 
The river's course, the valley's playful windings ; 
Curves round the corn-field and the hill of vines, 
Honoring the holy bounds of property ! 
And thus secure, though late, leads to its end." 

But when the rulers have inverted their function, 
and enacted wickedness into a law which treads 
down the unalienable rights of man to such degree 
as this, then I know no ruler but God, no law but 
natural Justice. I tear the hateful statute of kidnap- 
pers to shivers ; I trample it underneath my feet. I 
do it in the name of all law ; in the name of Justice 
and of Man ; in the name of the dear God. 

But of all this nothing was done. The Governor 
did not assemble the Legislature, as he would if a 
part of the property in Massachusetts had thus been 
put at the mercy of legalized ruffians. There was 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



51 



no convention of the people of Massachusetts. True, 
there was a meeting at Faneuil Hall, a meeting 
chiefly of anti-slavery men ; leading Freesoilers were 
a little afraid of it, though some of them came hon- 
orably forward. A venerable man put his name at 
the head of the signers of the call, and wrote a 
noble-spirited letter to the meeting ; Josiah Quincy 
was a Faneuil Hall name in 1850, as well as in 
1765. It was found a little difficult to get what in 
Boston is called a "respectable" man to preside. 
Yet one often true sat in the chair that night, — 
Charles F. Adams did not flinch, when you wanted 
a man to stand fire. A brave, good minister, whose 
large soul disdains to be confined to sect or party, 
came in from Cambridge, and lifted up his voice to 
the God who broughf up Israel out of the iron house 
of bondage, and our fathers from thraldom in a 
strange land ; thanking Him who created all men in 
His own image, and of one blood. Charles Lowell's 
prayer for all mankind will not soon be forgotten. 
The meeting was an honor to the men who com- 
posed it. The old spirit was there ; philanthropy, 
which never fails ; justice, that is not weary with 
continual defeat ; and faith in God, which is sure to 
triumph at the last. But what a reproach was the 
meeting to Boston ! " Respectability " was deter- 
mined to kidnap. 

At that meeting a Committee of Vigilance was 
appointed, and a very vigilant committee it has 



52 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



proved itself, having saved the liberty of three or 
four hundred citizens of Boston. Besides, it has 
done many things not to be spoken of now. I 
know one of its members who has helped ninety-five 
fugitives out of the United States. It would not be 
well to mention his name, — he has " levied war " 
too often, — the good God knows it.* 

Other towns in the State did the same thing. 
Vigilance Committees got on foot in most of the 
great towns, in many of the small ones. In some 
places, all the people rose up against the Fugitive 
Slave Bill ; the whole town a vigilance committee. 
The country was right; off of the pavement, Lib- 
erty was the watchword ; on the pavement, it was 
Money. But the Government of Massachusetts did 
nothing. Could the eight thousand nine hundred 
and seventy -five colored persons affect any election ? 
Was their vote worth bidding for ? 

The controlling men of the Whig party and of the 
Democratic party, they either did nothing at all, or 
else went over in favor of kidnapping ; some of them 
had a natural proclivity that way, and went over 
" with alacrity." 

The leading newspapers in the great towns, — 
they, of course, went on the side of inhumanity, 
with few honorable exceptions. The political pa- 
pers thought kidnapping would " save the Union ; " 



* It is not yet safe to mention his name. Feb. 22, 1855 ! 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



53 



the commercial papers thought it would " save 
trade," the great object for which the Union was 
established. 

How differently- had Massachusetts met the Acts 
of Trade and the Stamp Act ! How are the mighty 
fallen ! Yet, if you could have got their secret bal- 
lot, I think fifteen out of every twenty voters, even 
in Boston, would have opposed the law. But the 
leading politicians and the leading merchants were 
in favor of the bill, and the execution of it. 

There are two political parties in America : one of 
them is very large and well organized ; that is the 
Slave-soil party. It has two great subdivisions ; one 
is called Whig, the other Democratic: together they 
make up the great national Slave-soil party. It was 
the desire of that party to extend slavery ; making a 
national sin out of a sectional curse. They wished 
to " reannex " Massachusetts to the department of 
slave soil, and succeeded. We know the history of 
that party : who shall tell the future of its opponent ? 
There will be a to-morrow after to-day. 

The practical result was what the leading men of 
Boston desired : soon we had kidnappers in Boston. 
Some ruffians came here from Georgia, to kidnap 
William and Ellen Craft. Among them came a 
jailer from Macon, a man of infamous reputation, 
and character as bad as its repute ; notoriously a 
cruel man, and hateful on that account even in Geor- 
5* 



54 THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 

gia. In the handbills, his face was described as 
"uncommon bad." It was worthy of the description. 
I saw the face ; it looked like total depravity incar- 
nate in a born kidnapper. He was not quite wel- 
come in Boston ; Massachusetts had not then 
learned to "conquer her prejudices," yet he found 
friends, got " a sort of a lawyer " to help him kid- 
nap a man and his wife : a fee will hire such men 
any day. He was a welcome guest at the United 
States Hotel, which, however, got a little tired of his 
company, and warned him off. The commissioner 
first applied to for aid in this business seemed to ex- 
hibit some signs of a conscience, and appeared a lit- 
tle averse to stealing a man. The Vigilance Com- 
mittee put their eye on the kidnapper : he was glad 
to escape out of Boston with a whole skin. He 
sneaked off in a private way ; went back to Georgia ; 
published his story, partly true, false in part ; got 
into a quarrel in the street at Macon, — I traced out 
his wriggling trail for some distance back, — it was 
not the first brawl he had been in ; was stabbed to 
what is commonly called " the heart," and fell un- 
mistakably dead. Some worthy persons had told 
him, if he went to Boston, he would " rot in a Mas- 
sachusetts jail;" others, that they "hoped it would 
turn out so, for such an errand deserved such an 
end." Poor men of Georgia ! they knew the Boston 
of 1765, not of 1850 ; — the town of the Stamp Act, 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



55 



ruled by Select Men ; not the city of the Slave Act, 
ruled by a " Mayor." Hughes came to save the 
" Union ! " 

That time the kidnappers went off without their 
prey. Somebody took care of Ellen Craft, and Wil- 
liam took care of himself. They were parishioners 
of mine. Mr. Craft was a tall, brave man ; his 
countrymen, not nobler than he, were once bishops 
of Hippo and of Carthage. He armed himself, 
pretty well too. I inspected his weapons : it was 
rather new business for me ; New England ministers 
have not done much in that line since the Revolu- 
tion. His powder had a good kernel, and he kept it 
dry ; his pistols were of excellent proof, the barrels 
true and clean ; the trigger went easy ; the caps 
would not hang fire at the snap. I tested his pon- 
iard ; the blade had a good temper, stiff enough, yet 
springy withal; the point was sharp. There was no 
law for him but the Law of Nature ; he was armed 
and equipped " as that law directs." He walked the 
the streets boldly ; but the kidnappers did not dare 
touch him. Some persons offered to help Mr. Craft 
purchase himself. He said, " I will not give the 
man two cents for his 1 right ' to me. I will buy 
myself, not with gold, but iron ! " That looked like 
"levying war," not like conquering his prejudices 
for liberty ! William Craft did not obey " with alac- 
rity." He stood his ground till the kidnappers had 
fled ; then he also must flee. Boston was no home 



56 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



for him. One of her most eminent ministers had 
said, if a fugitive came to him, " I would drive him 
away from my own door." 

William and Ellen Craft were at the " World's 
Fair," specimens of American manufactures, the 
working-tools of the South; a proof of the democ- 
racy of the American State ; part of the " outward 
evidences" of the Christianity of the American 
church. " It is a great country," whence a Boston 
clergyman would drive William Craft from his 
door ! America did not compete very well with the 
European States in articles sent to the Fair. A 
" reaping machine " was the most quotable thing ; 
then a " Greek slave " in marble ; next an American 
slave in flesh and blood. America was the only 
contributor of slaves : she had the monopoly of the 
article ; it is the great export of Virginia, — it was 
right to exhibit a specimen at the World's Fair. 
Visitors went to Westminster Abbey, and saw the 
monument of marble which Massachusetts erected 
to Lord George Howe, and thence to the Crystal 
Palace to see the man and woman whom Massa- 
chusetts would not keep from being kidnapped in 
her Capital. 

In due time came the " Union meeting," on the 
twenty-sixth day of November, 1850, in Faneuil 
Hall, in front of the pictures of Samuel Adams and 
John Hancock, — in the hall which once rocked to 
the patriotism of James Otis, thundering against 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



57 



Acts of Trade and Writs of Assistance, " more elo- 
quent than Chatham or Burke." The Union meet- 
ing was held in the face and eyes of George Wash- 
ington. 

You remember the meeting. It was rather a 
remarkable platform : uniformly u Hunker," but de- 
cidedly heterogeneous. Yet sin abolishes all his- 
torical and personal distinctions. Kidnapping, like 
misery, " makes strange bedfellows." Three things 
all the speakers on that occasion developed in com- 
mon : A hearty abhorrence of the Right ; a uniform 
contempt for the Eternal Law of God : a common 
desire to kidnap a man. After all, the platform did 
not exhibit so strange a medley as it seemed at first : 
the difference in the speakers was chiefly cutaneous, 
only skin-deep. The reading and the speaking, the 
whining and the thundering, were all to the same 
tune. Pirates, who have just quarrelled about divid- 
ing the spoil, are of one heart when it comes to 
plundering and killing a man. 

That was a meeting for the encouragement of 
kidnapping ; not from the love of kidnapping in it- 
self, but for the recompense of reward. I will not 
insult the common sense of respectable men with 
supposing that the talk about the "dissolution of 
the Union," and the cry, " The Union is in peril this 
hour," was any thing more than a stage-trick, which 
the managers doubtless thought was " well got up." 
So it was ; but, I take it, the spectators who ap- 



58 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



plauded, as well as the actors who grimaced, knew 
that the " lion " was no beast, but only " Simon 
Snug the joiner." Indeed, the lion himself often 
told us so. However, I did know two very ' ; re- 
spectable " men of Boston, who actually believed 
the Union was in danger ; only two, — but they are 
men of such incomprehensible exiguity of intellect, 
that Their names would break to pieces if spoken 
loud. 

Well, the meeting, in substance, told this truth : 
" Boston is willing ; you may come here, and kidnap 
any black man you choose. We will lend you the 
marshal, the commissioner, the tools of perjury, 
supple courts of law, clergymen to bless the transac- 
tion, and editors to defend it ! " That was the plain 
English meaning of the meeting, of the resolutions 
and the speeches. It was so understood North and 
South. 

At the meeting itself it was declared that the 
Union was at the last gasp ; but the next morning 
the political doctors, the " medicine-men " of our 
mythology, declared the old lady out of danger. 
She sat up that day, and received her friends. The 
meeting was " great medicine ; " the crisis was 
passed. The Fugitive Slave Bill could " be exe- 
cuted in Boston," where the Writs of Assistance 
and the Stamp Act had been a dead letter : a man 
might be kidnapped in Boston any day. 

But the meeting was far from unanimous at the 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



59 



end. At the beginning a manly speech would have 
turned the majority in favor of the right. In No- 
vember, 1850, half a dozen rich men might have 
turned Boston against the wicked law. But their 
interest lay the other side ; and " where the treasure 
is, there will the heart be also." Boston is bad 
enough, but bad only in spots ; at that time the 
spots showed, and some men thought all Boston 
was covered with the smallpox of the Union meet- 
ing : the scars will mark the faces of only a few. I 
wish I could heal those faces, which will have an 
ugly look in the eyes of posterity. 

The practical result of the meeting was what it 
was designed to be : soon we had other kidnappers 
in Boston. This time they found better friends : 
like consorteth with like. A certain lawyer's office 
in Boston became a huckstery of kidnappers' war- 
rants. Soon the kidnappers had Shadrach in their 
fiery furnace, heated seven times hotter than before 
for William and Ellen Craft. But the Lord de- 
livered him out of their clutch ; and he now sings 
" God save the Queen," in token of his delivery out 
of the hands of the kidnappers of " Republican " 
Babylon. Nobody knows how he was delivered ; 
the rescue was officially declared " levying war," the 
rescuers guilty of " treason." But, wonderful to say, 
after all the violations of law by the Court, and all 
the browbeating by the attorneys, and all the per- 
jury and other " amendments and enlargement of 



60 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



testimony " by witnesses, not a man was found 
guilty of any crime. Spite of " Union meetings," 
there is some respect for Massachusetts law ; spite 
of judicial attempts to pack a jury, it is still the 
great safeguard of the people ; spite of preaching, 
there is some virtue left ; and, though a minister 
would send back his mother into slavery, a Massa- 
chusetts jury will not send a man to jail for such an 
act as that. 

The case of Shadrach was not the last. Kidnap- 
pers came and kidnappers went : for a long time 
they got no spoil. I need not tell, must not tell, 
how they were evaded, or what help came, always 
in season. The Vigilance Committee did not sleep ; 
it was in K permanent session " much of the whole 
winter ; its eyes were in every place, beholding the 
evil and the good. The Government at Washing- 
ton did not like this state of things, and stimulated 
the proper persons, as the keeper of a menagerie in 
private stirs up the hyenas and the cougars and the 
wolves, from a safe distance. There was a talk of 
" Sherman's flying-artillery " alighting at Boston ; 
but it flew over and settled at Newport, I think. 
Next there was to be a " garrison of soldiers " to 
enforce the law ; but the men in buckram did not 
appear. Then a " seventy-four gun ship was com- 
ing," to bombard Southack street, I suppose. Still 
it was determined that the " Union " was not quite 
safe ; it was in danger of a " dissolution ; " the 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



61 



" medicine-men " of politics and commerce looked 
grave. True, the Union had been " saved " again 
and again, till her u salvation " was a weariness ; 
she " was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse." 
All winter long, the Union was reported as in a 
chronic spasm of " dissolution." So the " medicine- 
men " prescribed : A man kidnapped in Massachu- 
setts, to be taken at the South ; with one scruple 
of lawyer, and two scruples of clergyman. That 
would set the Union on her legs. Boston was to 
furnish all this medicine. 

It was long before this city could furnish a kid- 
napped man. The Vigilance Committee parried the 
blow aimed at the neck of the fugitive. The country 
was on our side, — gave us money, help, men when 
needed. The guardians of Boston could not bear 
the taunt that she had not sent back a slave. New 
York had been before her ; the " City of Brotherly 
Love," the home of Penn and Franklin, had assisted 
in kidnapping ; it went on vigorously under the arm 
of a judge who appropriately bears the name of the 
great first murderer. No judge could be better enti- 
tled ; Kane and kidnapping are names conjuring 
well. Should Boston delay ? What a reproach to 
the fair fame of her merchants ! The history of Bos- 
ton was against them ; America has not yet forgotten 
the conduct of Boston in the matter of the Stamp 
Act and Acts of Trade. She was deeply guilty of 
the Revolutionary War ; she still kept its Cradle of 

vol. i. 6 



62 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



Liberty, and the bones of Adams and Hancock, — 
dangerous relics in any soil ; they ought to have 
been "sent back" at the passage of the Fugitive 
Slave Bill, and Faneuil Hall demolished. Bunker 
Hill Monument was within sight. Boston was sus- 
pected of not liking to kidnap a man. What a 
reproach it was to her ! — 8,975 colored persons in 
Massachusetts, and not a fugitive returned from 
Boston. September passed by, October, November, 
December, January, February, March; not a slave 
sent back in seven months ! What a disgrace to the 
Government of Boston, which longed to steal a man ; 
to the representative of Boston, who had voted for 
the theft ; to the Union Meeting, which loved the 
Slave Act ; to Mr. Webster, who thought Massachu- 
setts would obey "with alacrity," — his presidential 
stock looked down ; to his kidnappers, who had not 
yet fleshed their fangs on a fugitive. What a re- 
proach to the churches of commerce, and their 
patron, Saint Hunker ! One minister would drive a 
fugitive from his door ; another send back his own 
mother: what was their divinity worth, if, in seven 
months, they could not convert a single parishioner, 
and celebrate the sacrament of kidnapping! 

Yet, after all, not a slave went back from old Bos- 
ton, though more than four hundred fled out of the 
city from the stripes of America, and got safe to the 
• Cross of England ; not a slave went back from Bos- 
ton, spite of her representative, her Government, her 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



63 



Union Meeting, and her clerical advice. She would 
comfort herself against this sorrow, but her heart was 
faint in her. Well might she say, " The harvest is 
passed, the winter is ended, and we are not saved." 

Yet the good men still left in Boston, their heart 
not wholly corrupt with politics and lust of gain, 
rejoiced that Boston was innocent of the great trans- 
gression of her sister-cities, and thought of the proud 
days of old. But wily men came here : it was 
alleged they came from the South. They went round 
to the shops of jobbers, to the mills of manufacturers, 
and looked at large quantities of goods, pretending a 
desire to purchase to a great amount ; now it was a 
" large amount of domestics," then " a hundred thou- 
sand dollars worth of locomotives." " But then," 
said the wily men, " we do not like to purchase here ; 
you are in favor of the dissolution of the Union." 
" Oh, no," says the Northerner ; " not at all." " But 
you hate the South," rejoins the feigned customer. 
" By no means," retorts the dealer. " But you have 
not sent back a slave," concludes the customer, " and 
I cannot trade with you." 

The trick was tried in several places, and suc- 
ceeded. The story got abroad ; it was reported that 
" large orders intended for Boston had been sent to 
New York, on account of the acquiescence of the 
latter city in the Fugitive Slave Bill." Trade is 
timid ; gold is a cowardly metal ; how the tinsel 
trembles when there is thunder in the sky! Em- 



64 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



plovers Threatened their workmen : ; - You must not 
attend anti-slavery meetings, nor speak against the 
Fugitive Slave Bill. The Union is in imminent 
danger." 

The country was much more hostile to man-steal- 
ing than the city : it mocked at the kidnappers. 
" Let them try their game in Essex county," said 
some of the newspapers in that quarter. Thereupon 
commercial and political journals prepared to " cut 
off the supplies of the country," and "reduce the 
farmers and mechanics to submission." It was pub- 
licly advised that Boston should not trade with the 
obnoxious towns ; nobody must buy shoes at Lynn. 
In 1774, the Boston Port Bill shut up our harbor : it 
was a punishment for making tea against the law. 
But "penurious old Salem," whose enterprise is 
equalled by nothing but her " severe economy," 
opened her safe and commodious harbor to the mer- 
chants of Boston, with no cost of wharfage ! But the 
Boston of 1850 was not equal to the " penurious old 
Salem" of 1774! 

It was now indispensable that a slave should be 
sent back. Trade was clamorous ; the administra- 
tion were urgent ; the administration of Mr. Fillmore 
was in peril; Mr. Webster's reputation for slave- 
hunting was at stake ; the Union was in danger ; 
even the Marshal's commission was on the point of 
" dissolution," it is said. A descent was planned 
upon New Bedford, where the followers of Fox and 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 65 

Penn had long hid the outcast. That attempt came 
to nothing. The Vigilance Committee made a long 
arm, and " tolled the bell " of Liberty Hall in New 
Bedford. You remember the ghastly efforts at mirth 
made by some newspapers on the occasion. " The 
Vigilance Committee knows every thing," said one 
of the kidnappers. 

It now became apparent that Boston must furnish 
the victim. But some of the magistrates of Boston 
thought the Marshal was too clumsy to succeed, and 
offered him the aid of the city. So, on the night of 
the third of April, Thomas Sims was kidnapped by 
two police-officers of Boston, pretending to the by- 
standers that he was making a disturbance, and to 
him that he was arrested for theft. He was had into 
the " Court" of the kidnappers the next morning, 
charged with being a slave and a fugitive. 

You will ask, How did it happen that Sims did 
not resist the ruffians who seized him ? He did 
resist ; but he was a rash, heedless young fellow, 
and had a most unlucky knife, which knocked at a 
kidnapper's bosom, but could not open the door. He 
was very imperfectly armed. He underwent what 
was called a " trial," a trial without " due form of 
law;" without a jury, and without a judge ; before a 
Slave Act Commissioner, who was to receive twice 
as much for sacrificing a victim as for acquitting a 
man ! The Slave Commissioner decided that ]\Ir. 
Sims was a slave. I take it, nobody beforehand 

6* 



66 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



doubted that the decision would be against the man. 
The commissioner was to receive five dollars more 
for such a decision. The law was framed with 
exquisite subtlety. Five dollars is a small sum, very 
small; but things are great or little by comparison. 

Bur, in doing justice to this remarkable provision 
of the bill, let me do no injustice to the commis- 
sioner, who decided that a man was not a man, but 
a thing. I am told that he would not kidnap a man 
for five dollars; I am told, on good authority, that it 
would be " no temptation to him." I believe it ; for 
he also is " a man and a brother." I have heard 
good deeds of his doing, and believe that he did 
them. Total depravity does not get incarnated in 
any man. It is said that he refused both of the fees 
in this case ; the one for the " examination," and the 
other for the actual enslaving of Mr. Sims. I believe 
this also : there is historical precedent on record for 
casting down a larger fee, not only ten but thirty 
pieces of silver, likewise " the price of blood," money 
too base for a Jew to put in the public chest eighteen 
hundred years ago ! 

A noble defence was made for Mr. Sims by three 
eminent lawyers, Messrs. Charles G. Loring, Robert 
Rantoul, Jr., and Samuel E. Sewall, all honorable 
and able men. Their arguments were productions 
of no common merit. But of what use to plead 
law in such a " Court " of the Fugitive Slave Bill ; 
to appeal to the Constitution, when the statute is 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



67 



designed to thwart justice, and to destroy "the 
blessings of liberty?" Of what avail to appeal to 
the natural principles of right before the tool of an 
administration which denies that there is any law of 
God higher than the schemes of a politician ? It all 
came to nothing. A reasonable man would think 
that the human body and soul were " free papers " 
from the Almighty, sealed with "the image and 
likeness of God ; " but, of course, in a kidnapper's 
" Court," such a certificate is of no value. 

You all know the public account of the kidnap- 
ping and " trial " of Mr. Sims. What is known to 
me in private, it is not time to tell : T will tell that to 
your children ; no ! perhaps your grandchildren. 

You know that the arrest was illegal, the officers 
of Massachusetts being forbidden by statute to help 
arrest a fugitive slave. Besides, it appears that they 
had no legal warrant to make the arrest : they lied, 
and pretended to arrest him for another alleged 
offence. He was on " trial " nine days, — arraigned 
before a Slave Act Commissioner, — and never saw 
the face of a judge or any judicial officer but once. 
Before he could be removed to slavery, it was neces- 
sary that the spirit of the Constitution should be 
violated ; that its letter should be broken ; that 
the laws of Massachusetts should be cloven down ; 
its officers, its courts, and its people, treated with 
contempt. The Fugitive Slave Bill could only be 
enforced by the bayonet. 



/ 



68 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



You remember the aspect of Boston, from the 
fourth of April till the twelfth. You saw the chains 
about the Court House ; you saw the police of Bos- 
ton, bludgeons in their hands, made journeymen kid- 
nappers against their will. Poor fellows! I pitied 
them. I knew their hearts. Once on a terrible 
time, — it was just as they were taking Mr. Sims 
from the Court House, a year ago this day, — some- 
body reproached them, calling them names fitting 
their conduct, and I begged him to desist ; a poor 
fellow clutched my arm, and said, " For God's sake, 
don't scold us : we feel worse than you do ! " But 
with the money of Boston against them, the leading 
clergy defending "the crime against human nature, 
the City Government using its brief authority, 
squandering the treasure of Boston and its intoxicat- 
ing drink for the same purpose, what could a police- 
officer or a watchman do but obey orders ? They 
did it most unwillingly and against their conscience. 

You remember the conduct of the Courts of Mas- 
sachusetts ; the Supreme Court seemed to love the 
chains around the Court House ; for one by one the 
judges bowed and stooped and bent and cringed and 
curled and crouched down, and crawled under the 
chains. Who judges justly must himself be free. 
What could you expect of a court sitting behind 
chains ; of judges crawling under them to go to their 
own place? — the same that you found. It was a 
very appropriate spectacle, — the Southern chain on 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



69 



the neck of the Massachusetts Court. If the Bay 
State were to send a man into bondage, it was 
proper that the Court House should be in chains, 
and the judges should go under. 

You remember the " soldiers " called out, the cele- 
brated " Sims Brigade," liquored at Court Square 
and lodged at Faneuil Hall. Do you remember 
when soldiers were quartered in that place before ? 
[t was in 1768, when hireling "regulars" came, 
slaves themselves, and sent by the British Ministry 
to " make slaves of us all ; " to sheathe their swords 
" in the bowels of their countrymen ! " That was a 
sight for the eyes of John Hancock, — the " Sims 
Brigade," in Faneuil Hall, called out to aid a Slave 
Act Commissioner in his attempt to kidnap one of 
his fellow-citizens ! A man by the name of Samuel 
Adams drilled the police in the street. Samuel 
Adams of the old time left no children. We have 
lost the true names of men ; only Philadelphia keeps 
one. 

You remember the looks of men in the streets, the 
crowds that filled up Court Square. Men came in 
from the country, — came a hundred miles to look 
on ; some of them had fathers who fought at Lex- 
ington and Bunker Hill. They remembered the old 
times, when, the day after the battle of Lexington, a 
hundred and fifty volunteers, with the firelock at the 
shoulder, took the road from New Ipswich to Boston. 

You have not forgotten the articles in the news- 



70 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



papers, Whig and Democratic both ; the conduct of 
the " leading " churches you will never forget. 

What an appropriate time that would have been 
for the Canadians to visit the " Athens of America," 
and see the conduct of the " freest and most enlight- 
ened people in the world ! " If the great Hungarian 
could have come at that time, he would have under- 
stood the nature of "our peculiar institutions;" at 
least of our political men. 

You remember the decision of the Circuit judge, 
— himself soon to be summoned by death before the 
Judge who is no respecter of persons, — not allowing 
the destined victim his last hope, " the great writ of 
right," The decision left him entirely at the mercy 
of the other kidnappers. The Court-room was 
crowded with " respectable people," " gentlemen of 
property and standing:" they received the decision 
with " applause and the clapping of hands." Seize 
a lamb out of a flock, a wolf from a pack of wolves, 
the lambs bleat with sympathy, the wolves howl 
with fellowship and fear ; but when a competitor for 
the Presidency sends back to eternal bondage a poor, 
friendless negro, asking only his limbs, wealthy gen- 
tlemen of Boston applaud the outrage. 

" O judgment ! thou art fled to brutish beasts, 
And men have lost their reason ! " 

You remember still the last act in this sad trag- 
edy, — the rendition of the victim. In the darkest 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



71 



hour of the night of the eleventh and twelfth of 
April, the kidnappers took him from his jail in Court 
Square, weeping as he left the door. Two kindly- 
men went and procured the poor shivering boy a few 
warm garments for his voyage : I will not tell their 
names; perhaps their charity was "treason," and 
" levying war." Both of the men were ministers, 
and had not forgotten the great human word : " Inas- 
much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these 
my brethren, ye have done it unto me." The chief 
kidnappers surrounded Mr. Sims with a troop of po- 
licemen, armed with naked swords; that troop was 
attended by a larger crew of some two hundred 
policemen, armed with clubs. They conducted him, 
weeping as he went, towards the water-side ; they 
passed under the eaves of the old State House, 
which had rocked with the eloquence of James Otis, 
and shaken beneath the manly tread of both the 
Adamses, whom the cannon at the door could not 
terrify, and whose steps awakened the nation. They 
took him over the spot where, eighty-one years 
before, the ground had drunk in the African blood of 
Christopher Attucks, shed by white men on the fifth 
of March ; brother's blood which did not cry in vain. 
They took him by the spot where the citizens of 
Massachusetts — some of their descendants were 
again at the place — scattered the taxed tea of Great 
Britain to the waters and the winds ; they put him 



72 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



on board the " Acorn," owned by a merchant of 
Boston, who, once before, had kidnapped a man on 
his own account, and sent him off to the perdition 
of slavery, without even the help of a commissioner ; 
a merchant to whom it is " immaterial what his chil- 
dren may say of him!" 

" And this is Massachusetts liberty ! " said the 
victim of the avarice of Boston. No, Thomas Sims, 
that was not " Massachusetts liberty ; " it was all 
the liberty which the Government of Massachusetts 
wished you to have ; it was the liberty which the 
City Government presented you ; it was the liberty 
which Daniel Webster designed for you. The 
people of Massachusetts still believe that " all men 
are born free and equal," and " have natural, essen- 
tial, and unalienable rights " " of enjoying and de- 
fending their lives and liberties," " of seeking and 
obtaining their safety and happiness." Even the 
people of Boston believe that ; but certain politicians 
and merchants, to whom it is " immaterial what their 
children say " of them, — they wished you to be a 
slave, and it was they who kidnapped you. 

Some of you remember the religious meeting held 
on the spot, as this new " missionary " went abroad 
to a heathen land; the prayer put up to Him who 
made of one blood all nations of the earth ; the 
hymns sung. They sung then, who never sung be- 
fore, their " Missionary Hymn : " — 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 73 

" From many a Southern river 
And field of sugar-cane, 
They call us to deliver 
Their land from Slavery's chain." 

On the spot where the British soldiers slew Chris- 
topher Attacks in 1770, other men of Boston resolved 
to hold a religious meeting that night. They were 
thrast out of the hall they had engaged. The next 
day was the Christian sabbath ; and at night a meet- 
ing was held in a " large upper room," a meeting for 
mutual condolence and prayer. You will not soon 
forget the hymns, the Scriptures, the speeches, and 
the prayers of that night. This assembly is one of 
the results of that little gathering. 

Well, all of that you knew before ; this you do 
not know. Thomas Sims, at Savannah, had a fair 
and handsome woman, by the courtesy of the master 
called his " wife." Sims loved his wife ; and, when 
he came to Boston, wrote, and told her of his hiding- 
place, the number in the street, and the name of the 
landlord. His wife had a paramour ; that is a very 
common thing. The slave is " a chattel personal, to 
all intents, constructions, and purposes whatsoever." 
By the law of Georgia, no female slave owns her 
own virtue ; single or married, it is all the same. 
This African Delilah told her paramour of her hus- 
band's hiding-place. Blame her not : perhaps she 
thought " the Union is in peril this hour," and wished 

VOL. I. 7 



74 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



to save it. Yet I doubt that she would send back 
her own mother ; the African woman does not come 
to that ; only a Doctor of Divinity and Chaplain of 
the Navy. I do not suppose she thought she was 
doing her husband any harm in telling of his escape; 
nay, it is likely that her joy was so full, she could 
not hold it in. The Philistine had ploughed with 
Sims's heifer, and found out his riddle : the para- 
mour told the master Sims's secret ; the master sent 
the paramour of Mr. Sims's wife to Boston to bring 
back the husband! He was very welcome in this 
city, and got " the best of legal advice " at a cele- 
brated office in Court street. Boston said, " God 
speed the paramour ! " the Government of Massa- 
chusetts, " God speed the crime ! " Money came to 
the pockets of the kidnappers ; the paramour went 
home, his object accomplished, and the master was 
doubtless grateful to the city of Boston, which hon- 
ored thus the piety of its founders ! 

He was taken back to Georgia in the " Acorn ; " 
some of the better sort of kidnappers went with him 
to Savannah ; there Sims was put in jail, and they 
received a public dinner. You know the reputation 
of the men : the workmen were worthy of their 
meat. In jail, Mr. Sims was treated with great 
severity ; not allowed to see his relatives, not even 
his mother. It is said that he was tortured every 
day with a certain number of stripes on his naked 
back ; that his master once offered to remit part of 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



75 



the cruelty, if he would ask pardon for running 
away. The man refused, and took the added blows. 
One day, the jail-doctor told the master that Sims 
was too ill to bear more stripes. The master said, 
"Damn him! give him the lashes, if he dies;" — 
and the lashes fell. Be not troubled at that ; a slave 
is only a " chattel personal." Those blows were 
laid on by the speakers of the Union meeting ; it 
was only " to save the Union." I have seen a cleri- 
cal certificate, setting forth that the " owner " of Mr. 
Sims was an " excellent Christian," and " uncom- 
monly pious." When a clergyman would send back 
his own mother, such conduct is sacramental in a 
layman. 

When Thomas Sims was unlawfully seized, and 
detained in custody against the law, the Governor of 
Massachusetts was in Boston ; the Legislature was 
in session. It seems to me it was their duty to pro- 
tect the man, and enforce the laws of the State ; but 
they did no such thing. 

As that failed, it seems to me that the next thing 
was for the public to come together in a vast multi- 
tude, and take their brother out of the hands of his 
kidnappers, and set him at liberty. On the morning 
of the sixth of March, 1770, the day after the Boston 
massacre, Faneuil Hall could not hold the town- 
meeting. They adjourned to the Old South, and 
demanded " the immediate removal of the troops ; " 



76 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



at sundown there was " not a Red-coat in Boston." 
But the people in this case did no such thing. 

The next thing was for the Vigilance Committee 
to deliver the man : the country has never forgiven 
the Committee for not doing it. I am Chairman of 
the executive committee of the Vigilance Commit- 
tee ; I cannot now relate all that was done, all that 
was attempted. I will tell that when the time 
comes. Yet I think you will believe me when I say 
the Vigilance Committee did all they could. But 
see some of the difficulties in their way. 

There was in Boston a large number of crafty, 
rich, designing, and " respectable " men, who wanted 
a man kidnapped in Boston, and sent into slavery ; 
they wanted that for the basest of purposes, — for 
the sake of money ; they wanted the name of it, the 
reputation of kidnapping a man. They protected 
the kidnappers, — foreign and domestic ; egged them 
on, feasted them. It has been said that fifteen hun- 
dred men volunteered to escort their victim out of 
the State ; that some of them are rich men. I think 
the majority of the middle class of men were in 
favor of freedom ; but, in Boston, what is a man 
without money ? and, if he has money, who cares 
how base his character may be ? You demand 
moral character only of a clergyman. Some of the 
richest men were strongly in favor of freedom ; but, 
alas ! not many, and for the most part they were 
silent. 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



77 



The City Government of that period I do not like 
to speak of. It offers to a man, as cool as I am, a 
temptation to use language which a gentleman does 
not wish to apply to any descendant of the human 
race. But that Government, encouraging its thou- 
sand and five hundred illegal groggeries, and pre- 
tending a zeal for law, was for kidnapping a man ; 
so the police-force of the city was unlawfully put to 
that work ; soldiers were called out ; the money of 
the city flowed freely, and its rum. I do not sup- 
pose that the kidnapping was at all disagreeable to 
the " conscience " of the City Government ; they 
seemed to like it, and the consequences thereof. 

The prominent clergy of Boston were on the same 
side. The Dollar demanded that; and whither it 
went, thither went they. "Like people like priest" 
was a proverb two thousand five hundred years ago, 
and is likely to hold its edge for a long time to come. 
Still there were some very noble men among the 
ministers of Boston : we found them in all denomi- 
nations. 

Then the Courts of Massachusetts refused to issue 
the writ of Habeas Corpus. They did not afford the 
smallest protection to the poor victim of Southern 
tyranny. 

Not a sheriff could be got to serve a writ ; the 
high sheriff refused, all his deputies held back. 
Who could expect them to do their duty when all 
else failed ? 

7* 



78 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



The Legislature was then in session. They sat 
from January till May. They knew that eight thou- 
sand nine hundred and seventy-five citizens of Mas- 
sachusetts had no protection but public opinion, and 
in Boston that opinion was against them. They 
saw four hundred citizens of Boston flee off for 
safety ; they saw Shadrach captured in Boston ; 
they saw him kidnapped, and put in jail against their 
own law ; they saw the streets filled with soldiers to 
break the laws of Massachusetts, the police of Bos- 
ton employed in the same cause ; they saw the 
sheriffs refuse to serve a writ; they saw Thomas 
Sims kidnapped and carried from Boston ; and, in 
all the five months of the session, they did not pass 
a law to protect their fellow-citizens ; they did not 
even pass a "resolution" against the extension of 
slavery ! The Senate had a committee to investigate 
the affair in Boston. They sat in the Senate-hall, 
and were continually insulted by the vulgarest of 
men ; insulted not only with impudence, but im- 
punity, by men who confessed that they were violat- 
ing the laws of Massachusetts. 

Massachusetts had then a Governor who said he 
" would not harbor a fugitive slave." What did he 
do ? He sat as idle as a feather in the chair of 
State ; he left the sheriffs as idle as he. While the 
laws of Massachusetts were broken nine days run- 
ning, the successor of John Hancock sat as idle as a 
feather in the chair of State, and let kidnapping go 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



79 



on! I hate to say these things. The Governor is a 
young man, not without virtues ; but think of such 
things in Massachusetts ! 

This is my public defence of the Vigilance Com- 
mittee. The private defence shall come, if I live 
long enough. 

It was on the Nineteenth day of April that Thomas 
Sims was landed at Savannah, and put in the public 
jail of the city. Do you know what that day stands 
for in your calendar ? Some of your fathers knew 
very well. Ten miles from here is a little monument 
at Lexington, " sacred to liberty and the rights of 
mankind," telling that on the 19th of April, 1775, 
some noble men stood up there against the army of 
England, "fired the shot heard round the world," 
and laid down their lives "in the sacred cause of 
God and their country;" six miles further off is 
another little monument at Concord ; two miles fur- 
ther back, a third, all dating from the same day. 
The War of Revolution began at Lexington, to end 
at Yorktown. Its first battle was on the Nineteenth 
of April. Hancock and Adams lodged at Lexington 
with the minister. One raw morning, a little after 
daybreak, a tall man, with a large forehead under a 
three-cornered hat, drew up his company of seventy 
men on the green, farmers and mechanics like him- 
self ; only one is left now, the boy who " played " 
the men to the spot. They wheeled into line to wait 



80 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



for the Regulars. The captain ordered every man to 
load " his piece with powder and ball." " Do n't fire," 
were his words, " unless fired upon ; but, if they 
want a war, let it begin here." 

The Regulars came on. Some Americans offered 
to run away from their post. Their captain said, "I 
will order the first man shot dead that leaves his 
place." The English commander cried out, "Dis- 
perse, you rebels ; lay down your arms and disperse." 
Not a man stirred. " Disperse, you damned rebels ! " 
shouted he again. Not a man stirred. He ordered 
the vanguard to fire ; they did so, but over the heads 
of our fathers. Then the whole main body levelled 
their pieces, and there was need of ten new graves 
in Lexington. A few Americans returned the shot. 
British blood stained the early grass, which " waved 
with the wind." " Disperse and take care of your- 
selves," was the captain's last command ! And, 
after the British fired their third round, there lay the 
dead, and there stood the soldiers ; there was a bat- 
tle field between England and America, never to be 
forgot, never to be covered over. The " mother- 
country" of the morning was the "enemy" at sun- 
rise. ; - Oh, what a glorious morning is this!" said 
Samuel Adams. 

The Nineteenth of April was a good day for Bos- 
ton to land a fugitive slave at Savannah, and put 
him in jail, because he claimed his liberty. Some of 
you had fathers in the Battle of Lexington, many of 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



81 



you relations ; some of you, I think, keep trophies 
from that day, won at Concord or at Lexington. 
I have seen such things, — powder-horns, shoe- 
buckles, a firelock, and other things, from the Nine- 
teenth of April, 1775. Here is a Boston trophy from 
April Nineteenth, 1851. This is the coat of Thomas 
Sims.* He wore it on the third of April last. Look 
at it. You see he did not give up with alacrity, nor 
easily "conquer" his " prejudices" for liberty. See 
how they rent the sleeve away ! His coat was torn 
to tatters. " And this is Massachusetts liberty ! " 

Let the kidnappers come up and say, " Massachu- 
setts ! knowest thou whether this be thy son's coat 
or not ? " 

Let Massachusetts answer : " It is my son's coat ! 
An evil beast hath devoured him. Thomas is with- 
out doubt rent in pieces ! " 

Yes, Massachusetts ! that is right. It was an evil 
beast that devoured him, worse than the lion which 
comes up from the swelling of Jordan : it was a kid- 
napper. Thomas was rent with whips ! Go, Mas- 
sachusetts ! keep thy trophies from Lexington. I 
will keep this to remind me of Boston, and her dark 
places, which are full of cruelty. 

After the formation of the Union, a monument 
was erected at Beacon Hill, to commemorate the 
chief events which led to the American Revolution, 



* Here the coat was exhibited. 



82 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



and helped secure liberty and independence. Some 
of you remember the inscriptions thereon. If a 
monument were built to commemorate the events 
which are connected with the recent " Salvation of 
the Union," the inscriptions might be: — 

Union saved by Daniel Webster's Speech at Washington, March 
7, 1850. 

Union saved by Daniel Webster's Speech at Boston, April 30, 
1850. 

Union saved by the Passage of the Fugitive Slave Bill, Sept. 18, 
1850. 

Union saved by the arrival of Kidnapper Hughes at Boston, Oct. 
19, 1850. 

Union saved by the " Union Meeting " at Faneuil Hall, Nov. 26, 
1850. 

Union saved by kidnapping Thomas Sims at Boston, April 3,1851. 
Union saved by the Rendition of Thomas Sims at Savannah, 
April 19, 1851. — a Oh, what a glorious morning is this! " 

Sicut Patribus sit Deus Nobis.* 

The great deeds of the American Revolution were 
also commemorated by medals. The Boston kid- 
napping is worthy of such commemoration, and 
would be an appropriate subject for a medal, which 
might bear on one side a bass-relief of the last scene 
of that act: the Court House in chains; the victim 
in the hollow square of Boston police, their swords 
and bludgeons in their hands. The motto might be 



* The Latin words are the motto on the Seal of Boston. 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



83 



— The Great Object of GovernmExNT is the 
Protection of Property at Home.* The other side 
might bear a Boston Church, surrounded by shops 
and taverns taller than itself, with the twofold in- 
scription : No Higher Law; and I would send 

BACK MY OWN MOTHER. 

What a change from the Boston of John Hancock 
to the Boston of the Fugitive Slave Bill ; from the 
town which hung Grenville and Huske in effigy, to 
the city which approved Mr. Webster's speech in 
defence of slave-catching! Boston tolled her bells 
for the Stamp Act, and fired a hundred holiday can- 
nons for the Slave Act! Massachusetts, all New 
England, has been deeply guilty of slavery and the 
slave-trade. An exile from Germany finds the chief 
street of Newport paved by a tax of ten dollars a 
head on all the slaves landed there ; the little town 
sent out Christian New England rum, and brought 
home Heathen men — for sale. Slavery came to 
Boston with the first settlers. In 1639, Josselyn 
found here a negro woman in bondage refusing to 
become the mother of slaves. There was much to 
palliate the offence : all northern Europe was stained 
with the crime. It did not end in Westphalia till 
1789. But the consciences of New England never 
slept easy under that sin. Before 1641, Massachu- 



* Kemark of Mr. Webster. 



84 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



setts ordered that a slave should be set free after 
seven years' service, reviving a merciful ordinance of 
the half-barbarous Hebrews a thousand years before 
Christ. In 1645, the General Court of Massachu- 
setts sent back to Guinea two black men illegally 
enslaved, and made a law forbidding the sale of 
slaves, except captives in war, or men sentenced to 
sale for crime. Even they were set free after seven 
years' service. Still slavery always existed here, 
spite of the law ; the newspapers once contained ad- 
vertisements of "negro-babies to be given away" in 
Boston! Yet New England never loved slavery: 
hard and cruel as the Puritans were, they had some 
respect for the letter of the New Testament. In 
1700, Samuel Sewall protested against "the selling 
of Joseph ; " as another Sewall, in 1851, protested 
against the selling of Thomas. There was a great 
controversy about slavery in Massachusetts in 1766 ; 
even Harvard College took an interest in freedom, 
setting its young men to look at the rights of man! 
In 1767, a bill was introduced to the General Assem- 
bly to prevent "the unnatural and unwarrantable 
custom of enslaving mankind." It was killed by 
the Hunkers of that time. In 1774, a bill of a sim- 
ilar character passed the Assembly, but was crushed 
by the veto of Governor Hutchinson. 

In 1788, three men were illegally kidnapped at 
Boston by "one Avery, a native of Connecticut," 
and carried off to Martinico. Then we had John 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



85 



Hancock for governor, and he wrote to all the gov- 
ernors of the West India Islands in favor of the 
poor creatures. The Boston Association of Congre- 
gational Ministers petitioned the Legislature to pro- 
hibit Massachusetts ships from engaging in the for- 
eign or domestic slave-trade. Dr. Belknap was a 
member of the Association, — a man worthy to have 
Channing for a successor to his humanity. The 
Legislature passed a bill for the purpose. In July 
the three men were brought back from the West 
Indies: Dr. Belknap says, " It was a day of jubilee 
for all the friends of justice and humanity." 

What a change from the Legislature, clergy, and 
governor of 1788 to that of 1851 ! Alas ! men do 
not gather figs of thistles. The imitators of this 
Avery save the Union now : he saved it before it 
was formed. How is the faithful city become a 
harlot ! It was full of judgment : righteousness 
lodged in it, but now murderers. 

What is the cause of this disastrous change ! It 
is the excessive love of money which has taken pos- 
session of the leading men. In 1776, General 
Washington said of Massachusetts : " Notwithstand- 
ing all the public spirit that is ascribed to this people, 
there is no nation under the sun that I ever came 
across, which pays greater adoration to money than 
they do." What would he say now ? Selfishness 
and covetousness have flowed into the commercial 

vol. i. 8 



86 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



capital of New England, seeking their fortune. Bos- 
ton is now a shop, with the aim of a shop, and the 
morals of a shop, and the politics of a shop. 

Thomas Jefferson said : Governments are insti- 
tuted amongst men to secure the natural and unalien- 
able right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happi- 
ness. All America said so on the fourth of July, 
1776. But we have changed all that. Daniel "Web- 
ster said, at New York, 1850 : " The great object of 
government is the protection of property at home, 
and respect and renown abroad." John Hancock 
had some property to protect ; but he said the design 
of government is " security to the persons and the 
properties of the governed." He put the persons 
first, and the property afterwards; the substance of 
man before his accidents. Hancock said again : " It 
is the indispensable duty of every member of society 
to promote, as far as in him lies, the prosperity of 
every individual." The Governor of Massachusetts 
says : " I would not harbor a fugitive." A clergy- 
man says : I would send back my own mother ! If 
the great object of government is the protection of 
property, why should a governor personally harbor a 
fugitive, or officially protect nine thousand colored 
men ? Why should not a clergyman send to slavery 
his mother, to save the Union, or to save a bank, or 
to gain a chaplaincy in the navy ? But, if this be 
so, then what a mistake it was in Jesus of Nazareth 
to say, " A man's life consisteth not in the abun- 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



87 



dance of things that he possesseth ! ? ' Verily the 
meat is more than the life ; the body less than rai- 
ment ! Christ was mistaken in his " Beware of cov- 
etousness : M he should have said, u Beware of phi- 
lanthropy ; drive off a fugitive ; send back your 
mother to bondage. Blessed are the kidnappers, for 
they shall be called the children of God." 

Even Thomas Paine had a Christianity which 
would choke at the infidelity and practical atheism 
taught in the blessed name of Jesus in the Boston 
churches of Commerce to-day. The Gospel relates 
that Jesus laid his hands on men to bless them — on 
the deaf, and they heard ; on the dumb, and they 
spoke ; on the blind, and they saw ; on the lame, and 
they walked ; on the maimed and the sick, and they 
were whole. But Christian Boston lays its hand on 
a whole and free man, and straightway he owns no 
eyes, no ears, no tongue, no hands, no foot : he is a 
slave ! 

In 1761, the Massachusetts of John Hancock 
would not pay three pence duty on a pound of tea, 
to have all the protection of the British crown : 
I ninety years later, the Boston of Daniel "Webster, to 
secure the trade of the South, and a dim, delusive 
hope of a protective tariff, will pay any tax in men. 
It is no new thing for her citizens to be imprisoned 
at Charleston and New Orleans, because they are 
black. What merchant cares? It does not inter- 



88 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



rupt trade. Five citizens of Massachusetts have 
just been sent into bondage by a Southern State. 
Of what consequence is that to the politicians of the 
Commonwealth ? Our property is worth six hundred 
million dollars. By how much is a man worth less 
than a dollar! The penny wisdom of "Poor Rich- 
ard " is the great gospel to the city which cradled 
the benevolence of Franklin. 

Boston capitalists do not hesitate to own Southern 
plantations, and buy and sell men ; Boston mer- 
chants do not scruple to let their ships for the domes- 
tic slave-trade, and carry the child from his mother 
in Baltimore, to sell him to a planter in Louisiana or 
Alabama ; some of them glory in kidnapping their 
fellow-citizens in Boston. Most of the slave-ships 
in the Atlantic are commanded by New England 
men. A few years ago, one was seized by the Brit- 
ish Government at Africa, "full of slaves;" it was 
owned in Boston, had a " clearance " from our har- 
bor, and left its name on the books of the insurance 
offices here. The controlling men of Boston have 
done much to promote, to extend, and to perpetuate 
slavery. Why not, if the protection of property be * 
the great object of Government? why not, if interest 
is before Justice ? why not, if the higher law of God 
is to be sneered at in state and church ? 

When the Fugitive Slave Bill passed, the six New 
England States lay fast asleep : Massachusetts slept 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



89 



soundly, her head pillowed on her unsold bales of 
cotton and of woollen goods, dreaming of " orders 
from the South." Justice came to waken her, and 
whisper of the peril of nine thousand citizens ; and 
she started in her sleep, and, being frighted, swore 
a prayer or two, then slept again. But Boston 
woke, — sleeping, in her shop, with ears open, and 
her eye on the market, her hand on her purse, dream- 
ing of goods for sale, — Boston woke broadly up, 
and fired a hundred guns for joy. O Boston, Bos- 
ton! if thou couldst have known, in that thine hour, 
the things which belong unto thy peace ! But no : 
they were hidden from her eyes. She had prayed to 
her god, to Money ; he granted her the request, but 
sent leanness into her soul. 

Yet at first I did not believe that the Fugitive 
Slave Bill could be executed in Boston ; even the 
firing of the cannons did not convince me ; I did not 
think men bad enough for that. I knew something 
of wickedness ; I knew what love of money could 
do ; I had seen it blind most venerable eyes. I 
knew Boston was a Tory town ; the character of 
upstart Tories — I thought I knew that : the man 
just risen from the gutter knocks down him that is 
rising. But I knew also the ancient history of Bos- 
ton. I remembered the first commissioner we ever 
had in New England, — Sir Edmund Andros, sent 
here by the worst of the Stuarts " to rob us of our 
charters in North America." He was a terrible 

8* 



90 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



tyrant. The liberty of Connecticut fled into the 
" Great Oak at Hartford : " — 

" The Charter Oak it was the tree 
That saved our blessed liberty." 

" All Connecticut was in the Oak." But Massachu- 
setts laid her hands on the commissioner, — he was 
her Governor also, — put him in jail, and sent him 
home for trial in 1689. William of Orange thought 
we " served him right." The name of " commis- 
sioner " has always had an odious meaning to my 
mind. I did not think a commissioner at kidnap- 
ping men would fare better than Sir Edmund kid- 
napping charters. I remembered the Writs of As- 
sistance, and thought of James Otis ; the Stamp 
Act, " Adams and Liberty " came to my mind. I 
did not forget the way our fathers made tea with 
salt-water. I looked up at that tall obelisk ; I took 
courage, and have since reverenced that " monument 
of piled stones." I could not think Mr. Webster 
wanted the law enforced, spite of his speeches and 
letters. It was too bad to be true of him. I knew 
he was a bankrupt politician, in desperate political 
circumstances, gaming for the Presidency, with the 
probability of getting the vote of the county of Suf- 
folk, and no more. I knew he was not rich : his 
past history showed that he would do almost any 
thing for money, which he seems as covetous to get 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



91 



as prodigal to spend. I knew that M a man in fall- 
ing will catch at a redhot iron hook/' I saw why 
Mr. Webster caught at the Fugitive Slave Bill : it 
was a great fall from the coveted and imaginary 
Presidency down to actual private life at Marshfield. 
It was a great fall. The Slave Act was the redhot 
iron hook to a man falling like Lucifer, never to 
hope again." The temptation was immense. I 
could not think he meant to hold on there ; he did 
often relax his grasp, yet only to clutch it the tighter. 
I did not like to tliink he had a bad heart. I hoped 
he would shrink from blasting the head of a single 
fugitive with that dreadful il thunder " of his speech : 
that he would not like to execute his own law. Men 
in Boston said it could not be executed. Even cruel 
men that I knew shuddered at the thought of kid- 
napping a man who fills their glasses with wine. 
The law was not fit to be executed : that was the 
general opinion in Boston at first. So, when kid- 
napper Hughes came here for William Craft, even 
the commissioner applied to was a little shy of the 
business. Yet that commissioner is not a very scru- 
pulous man. I mean, in the various parties he has 
wriggled through, he has not left the reputation of 
any excessive and maidenly coyness in moral mat- 
ters, and a genius for excessive scrupulousness as to 
means or ends. Even a Hunker minister informed 
me that he " would certainly aid a fugitive." But. 
after the Union Meeting, the clouds of darkness 



92 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



gathered together, and it set in for a storm ; the kid- 
nappers went and rough-ground their swords on the 
grindstone of the church, a navy chaplain turning 
the crank ; and all our hopes fell to the ground. 

" Vice is a monster of such frightful mien, 
As. to be hated, needs but to be seen ; 
But seen too oft, familiar with her face, 
We first endure, then pity, then embrace." 

The relentless administration of Mr. Fillmore has 
been as cruel as the law they framed. Mr. Webster 
has thrust the redhot iron hook into the flesh of 
thousands of his fellow-citizens. He and his kid- 
nappers came to a nation scattered and peeled, 
meted out and trodden down ; they have ground the 
poor creatures to powder under their hoof. I wish I 
could find an honorable motive for such deeds, but 
hitherto no analysis can detect it, no solar micro- 
scope of charity can bring such a motive to light. 
The end is base, the means base, the motive base. 

Yet one charge has been made against the Gov- 
ernment, which seems to me a little harsh and un- 
just. It has been said the administration preferred 
low and contemptible men as their tools ; judges 
who blink at law, advocates of infamy, and men 
cast off from society for perjury, for nameless crimes, 
and sins not mentionable in English speech ; crea- 
tures " not so good as the dogs that licked Lazarus's 
sores ; but, like flies, still buzzing upon any thing 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



93 



that is raw." There is a semblance of justice in the 
charge : witness Philadelphia, Buffalo, Boston ; wit- 
ness New York. It is true for kidnappers the Gov- 
ernment did take men that looked " like a bull-dog 
just come to man's estate ; " men whose face declared 
them, " if not the devil, at least his twin-brother." 
There are kennels of the courts wherein there settles 
down all that the law breeds most foul, loathsome, 
and hideous and abhorrent to the eye of day ; there 
this contaminating puddle gathers its noisome ooze, 
slowly, stealthily, continually, agglomerating its fetid 
mass by spontaneous cohesion, and sinking by the 
irresistible gravity of rottenness into that abhorred 
deep, the lowest, ghastliest pit in all the subterranean 
vaults of human sin. It is true the Government has 
skimmed the top and dredged the bottom of these 
kennels of the courts, taking for its purpose the scum 
and sediment thereof, the Squeers, the Fagins, and 
the Quilps of the law, the monsters of the court. 
Blame not the Government ; it took the best it could 
get. It was necessity, not will, which made the 
selection. Such is the stuff that kidnappers must be 
made of. If you wish to kill a man, it is not bread 
you buy : it is poison. Some of the instruments 
of Government were such as one does not often look 
upon. But, of old time, an inquisitor was always " a 
horrid-looking fellow, as beseemed his trade." It is 
only justice that a kidnapper should bear " his great 
commission in his look." 



94 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



In a town full of British soldier? in 1774. on the 
anniversary of the Boston Massacre, John Hancock 
said : — 

•• Surely you never will tamely suffer this country 
to be a den of thieves. Remember, my friends, from 
whom you sprang. Let not a meanness of spirit, 
unknown to those whom you boast of as your fathers, 
excite a thought to the dishonor of your mothers. I 
conjure you by all that is dear, by all that is honora- 
ble, by all that is sacred, not only that ye pray, but 
that you act ; that, if necessary, ye fight, and even 
die, for the prosperity of our Jerusalem. Break in 
sunder, with noble disdain, the bonds with which 
the Philistines have bound you. Suffer not your- 
selves to be betrayed by the soft arts of luxury and 
effeminacy into the pit digged for your destruction. 
Despise the glare of wealth. That people who pay 
greater respect to a wealthy villain than to an honest, 
upright man in poverty, almost deserve to be en- 
slaved : they plainly show that wealth, however it 
may be acquired, is, in their esteem, to be preferred 
to virtue. 

u But I thank God that America abounds in men 
who are superior to all temptation, whom nothing 
can divert from a steady pursuit of the interest of 
their country, who are at once its ornament and safe- 
guard. And sure I am I should not incur your dis- 
pleasure, if I paid a respect so justly due to their 
much-honored characters, in this place ; but, when I 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



95 



name an Adams, such a numerous host of fellow- 
patriots rush upon my mind, that I fear it would 
take up too much of your time, should I attempt to 
call over the illustrious roll: but your grateful hearts 
will point you to the men ; and their revered names, 
in all succeeding times, shall grace the annals of 
America. From them, let us, my friends, take ex- 
ample ; from them let us catch the divine enthusi- 
asm ; and feel, each for himself, the godlike pleasure 
of diffusing happiness on all around us ; of deliver- 
ing the oppressed from the iron grasp of tyranny : 
of changing the hoarse complaint and bitter moans 
of wretched slaves into those cheerful songs which 
freedom and contentment must inspire. There is a 
heartfelt satisfaction in reflecting on our exertions 
for the public weal, which all the sufferings an en- 
raged tyrant can inflict will never take away, which 
the ingratitude and reproaches of those whom we 
have saved from ruin cannot rob us of. The virtu- 
ous assertor of the rights of mankind merits a re- 
ward, which even a want of success in his endeavors 
to save his country, the heaviest misfortune which 
can befall a genuine patriot, cannot entirely prevent 
him from receiving." 

But, in 1S50, Mr. Webster bade Massachusetts 
" conquer her prejudices." He meant the u preju- 
dices " in favor of Justice, in favor of the Unaliena- 
ble Eights of Man, in favor of Christianity. Did 
Massachusetts obey ? The answer was given a year 



96 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



ago. " Despise the glare of wealth," said the richest 
man in New England in 1774 : the " great object of 
government is the protection of property," said " the 
great intellect " of America in 1850 ! John Han- 
cock seventy-eight years ago, said : " We dread noth- 
ing but slavery : " Daniel Webster two years ago, 
said, Massachusetts will obey the Fugitive Slave 
Bill "with alacrity." Boston has forgotten John 
Hancock. 

In 1775, Joseph Warren said, " Scourges and 
death with tortures are far less terrible than slavery." 
Now it is " a great blessing to the African." Said 
the same Warren, " The man who meanly submits 
to wear a shackle contemns the noblest gift of Heav- 
en, and impiously affronts the God that made him 
free." Now clergymen tell us that kidnappers are 
ordained of God, and passive obedience is every 
man's duty. The town of Boston in 1770, declared, 
" Mankind will not be reasoned out of the feelings 
of humanity." In 1850, the pulpit of Boston says, 
Send back your brother. 

The talk of dissolution is no new trick. Hear 
General Warren, in the spirit of 1775 : " Even anar- 
chy itself, that bugbear held up by the tools of power, 
is infinitely less dangerous to mankind than arbitrary 
government. Anarchy can be but of short duration ; 
for, when men are at liberty to pursue that course 
which is most conducive to their own happiness, they 
will soon come into it, and from the rudest state of 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



97 



nature order and good government must soon arise. 
But tyranny, when once established, entails its curses 
on a nation to the latest period of time, unless some 
daring genius, inspired by Heaven, shall, unappalled 
by danger, bravely form and execute the design of 
restoring liberty and life to his enslaved and mur- 
dered country.'' Now a man would send his mother 
into slavery to save the Union ! 

Will Boston be called on again to return a fugi- 
tive ? Not long since, some noble ladies in a neigh- 
boring town, whose religious hand often reaches 
through the darkness to save men ready to perish, 
related to me a fresh tale of woe. Here is then let- 
ter of the first of March : — 

' ; Only ten days ago, we assisted a poor, deluded 
sufferer in effecting his escape to Canada, after hav- 
ing been cheated into the belief by the profligate 
captain who brought him from the South, that he 
would be in safety as soon as he reached Boston. . . . 
He had accumulated two hundred dollars, which he 
put into the captain's hands, upon his agreeing to 
secrete him, and bring him to Boston. The moment 
the vessel touched the wharf, the scoundrel bade the 
poor fellow be off in a moment ; and he then discov- 
ered his liability to be pursued and taken. It was 
then midnight, and the cold was intense. He wan- 
dered about the streets, and in the morning strolled 

into the Depot, and came out to in 

the earliest cars. On reaching this town, he had the 

vol. i. 9 



98 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



sense to find out the only man of color who lives 

here, , a very respectable barber. Mr. 

sheltered him that day and the following night ; and 
early the next morning a sufficient sum had been col- 
lected for him to pay his passage to Canada, and 
supply his first wants after arriving there ; but, in the 
meanwhile, the villanous captain bears off his hard 
earnings in triumph." 

I must not give the names of the ladies : they are 
liable to a fine of a thousand dollars each, and im- 
prisonment for six months* It was atrocious in the 
captain to steal the two hundred dollars from the 
poor captive ; but the Government of the United 
States would gladly steal his body, his limbs, his life, 
his children, to the end of time. The captain was 
honorable in comparison with the kidnappers. Per- 
haps he also wished to " Save the Union." — Sicut 
Patribus sit Deus Nobis! 

What a change from the Boston of our fathers ! 
Where are the children of the patriots of old ? 
Tories spawned their brood in the streets : Adams 
and Hancock died without a child. Has nature 
grown sterile of men ? is there no male and manly 
virtue left ? are we content to be kidnappers of men ? 
No. Here still are noble men, men of the good old 
stock ; men of the same brave, holy soul. No time 



* It is still unsafe to mention their names ! January, 1855. 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



99 



of trial ever brought out nobler heroism than last 
year. Did we want money, little Methodist churches 
in the country, the humanest churches in New Eng- 
land, dropped their widow's mite into the chest. 
From ministers of all modes of faith but the popu- 
lar one in money, from all churches but that of com- 
merce, there came gifts, offers of welcome, and words 
of lofty cheer. Here, in Boston, there .were men 
thoroughly devoted to the defence of their poor, 
afflicted brethren ; even some clergymen faithful 
among the faithless. But they were few. It was 
only a handful who ventured to be faithful to the 
true and right. The great tide of humanity, which 
once filled up this place, had ebbed off: only a few 
perennial springs poured out their sweet and unfail- 
ing wealth to these weary wanderers. 

Yet Boston is rich in generous men, in deeds of 
charity, in far-famed institutions for the good of 
man. In this she is still the noblest of the great 
cities of the land. I honor the self-sacrificing, noble 
men ; the women whose loving-kindness never failed 
before. Why did it fail at this time ? Men fancied 
that their trade was in peril. It was an idle fear ; 
even the dollar obeys the " Higher Law," which its 
worshippers deny. Had it been true, Boston had 
better lose every farthing of her gold, and start anew 
with nothing but the wilderness, than let her riches 
stand between us and our fellow man. Thy money 
perish, if it brutalize thy heart ! 



100 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



I wish I could believe the motives of men were 
good in this ; that they really thought the nation was 
in peril. But no ; it cannot be. It was not the love 
of country which kept the " compromises of the Con- 
stitution" and made the Fugitive Slave Bill. I pity 
the politicians who made this wicked law, made it in 
the madness of their pride. I pity that son of New 
England, who, against his nature, against his early 
history, drew his sword to sheathe it in the bowels of 
his brother-man.* The melancholiest spectacle in all 
this land, self-despoiled of the lustre which would 
have cast a srlorv on his tomb, and sent his name a 
watchword to many an age, — now he is. the com- 
panion of kidnappers, and a proverb amongst honor- 
able men, with a certainty of leaving a name to be 
hissed at by mankind. 

I pin- the kidnappers, the poor tools of men almost 
as base. I would not hurt a hair of their heads ; but 
I would take the thunder of the moral world, and 
dash its bolted lightning on this crime of stealing 
men, till the name of kidnapping should be like 
Sodom and Gomorrah. It is piracy to steal a man 
in Guinea ; what is it to do this in Boston ? 

I pity the merchants who, for their trade, were 
glad to steal their countrymen ; I wish them only 
good. Debate in yonder Jiall has shown how little of 
humanity there is in the trade of Boston. She looks 



* Mr. Webster. 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



101 



on all the horrors which intemperance has wrought, 
and daily deals in every street ; she scrutinizes the 
jails, — they are filled by rum; she looks into the 
alms-houses, crowded full by rum; she walks her 
streets, and sees the perishing classes fall, mowed 
down by rum ; she enters the parlors of wealthy men, 
looks into the bridal chamber, and meets death : the 
ghosts of the slain are there, — men slain by rum. 
She knows it all, yet says, " There is an interest at 
stake ! " — the interest of rum ; let man give way ! 
Boston does this to-day. Last year she stole a man ; 
her merchants stole a man! The sacrifice of man to 
money, when shall it have an end ? I pity those 
merchants who honor money more than man. Their 
gold is cankered, and their soul is brass, — is rusted 
brass. They must come up before the posterity 
which they affect to scorn. What voice can plead 
for them before their own children ? The eye that 
mocketh at the justice of its son, and scorneth to 
obey the mercy of its daughter, the ravens of poster- 
ity shall pick it out, and the young eagles eat it up ! 

But there is yet another tribunal : u After the 
death the judgment ! " When he maketh inquisition 
for the blood of the innocent, what shall the stealers 
of men reply ? Boston merchants, where is your 
brother, Thomas Sims ? Let Cain reply to Christ. 

Come, Massachusetts! take thy historic mantle, 
wrought all over with storied memories of two hun- 
9* 



102 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



dred years, adorned with deeds in liberty's defence, 
and rough with broidered radiance from the hands of 
sainted men ; walk backwards, and cover up and 
hide the naked public shame of Boston, drunk with 
gain, and lewdly lying in the street. It will not hide 
the shame. Who can annul a fact? Boston has 
chronicled her infamy, and on the iron leaf of time, 
— ages shall read it there ! 

Then let us swear by the glory of our fathers and 
the infamy of this deed, that we will hate slavery, 
hate its cause, hate its continuance, and will exter- 
minate it from the land ; come up hither as the years 
go by, and here renew the annual oath, till not a 
kidnapper is left lurking in the land ; yes, till from 
the Joseph that is sold into Egypt, there comes forth 
a man to guide his people to the promised land. 
Out of this " Acorn " a tall oak may grow. 

Old mythologies relate, that, when a deed of sin 
is done, the souls of men who bore a kindred to the 
deed come forth and aid the work. What a com- 
pany must have assisted at this sacrament a year 
ago ! What a crowd of ruffians, from the first New 
England commissioner to the latest dead of Boston 
murderers ! Robert Kidd might have come back 
from his felon-grave at " Execution Dock," to resume 
his appropriate place, and take command of the 
Acorn," and guide her on her pirate-course. Arnold 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



103 



might sing again his glad Te Deum, as on that 
fatal day in March. What an assembly there would 
be, — " shapes hot from Tartarus ! " 

But the same mythologies go fabling on, and say 
that at such a time the blameless, holy souls who 
made the virtues blossom while they lived, and are 
themselves the starriest flowers of Heaven now, that 
they return to bless the old familiar spot, and witness 
every modern deed ; and, most of all, that godly min- 
isters, who lived and labored for their flocks, return 
to see the deed they cannot help, and aid the good 
they bless. What a gathering might there have 
been of the just men made perfect ! The patriots 
who loved this land, mothers whose holy hearts had 
blessed the babes they bore ; pure men of lofty soul 
who labored for mankind, — what a fair company 
this State could gather of the immortal dead ! Of 
those great ministers of every faith, who dearly loved 
the Lord, what venerable heads I see : John Cotton 
and the other " famous Johns ; " Eliot, bearing his 
Indian Bible, which there is not an Indian left to 
read ; Edwards, a mighty name in East and West, 
even yet more marvellous for piety than depth of 
thought ; the Mathers, venerable men ; Chauncy and 
Mayhew, both noble men of wealthy soul ; Belknap, 
who saw a brother in an African ; Buckminster, the 
fairest, sweetest bud brought from another field, too 
early nipped in this ; Channing and Ware, both 



104 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



ministers of Christ, who, loving God, loved too their 
fellow men ! How must those souls look down 
upon the scene ! Boston delivering up — for lust of 
gold delivering up — a poor, forsaken boy to slavery; 
Belknap and Channing mourning for the church ! 

I turn me off from the living men, the living 
courts, the living churches, — no, the churches dead ; 
from the swarm of men all bustling in the streets ; 
turn to the sainted dead. Dear fathers of the State ; 
ye blessed mothers of New England's sons ; — O 
holy saints who laid with prayer the deep founda- 
tions of New England's church, is then the seed of 
heroes gone ? New England's bosom, is it sterile, 
cold, and dead ? " No ! " say the fathers, mothers, 
all, — " New England only sleeps ; even Boston is 
not dead ! Appeal from Boston drunk with gold, 
and briefly mad with hate, to sober Boston in her 
hour to come. Wait but a little time ; have pa- 
tience with her waywardness ; she yet shall weep 
with penitence that bitter day, and rise with ancient 
energy to do just deeds of lasting fame. Even yet 
there 's Justice in her heart, and Boston mothers shall 
give birth to men ! " 

Tell me, ye blessed, holy souls, angels of New 
England's church ! shall man succeed, and gain his 
freedom at the last ? Answer, ye holy men ; speak 
by the last great angel of the church who went to 
heaven. Repeat some noble word you spoke on 
earth ! 



THE BOSTON KIDNAPPING. 



105 



Hear their reply : — 

" Oppression shall not always reign : 

There comes a brighter day, 
When Freedom, burst from every chain, 

Shall have triumphant way. 
Then Right shall over Might prevail, 
And Truth, like hero, armed in mail, 
The hosts of tyrant Wrong assail, 

And hold eternal sway. 

" What voice shall bid the progress stay 

Of Truth's victorious car ? — 
What arm arrest the growing day, 

Or quench the solar star '? 
What reckless soul, though stout and strong, 
Shall dare bring back the ancient wrong, — 
Oppression's guilty night prolong, 

And Freedom's morning bar ? 

" The hour of triumph comes apace, — 
The fated, promised hour, 
When earth upon a ransomed race 
Her bounteous gifts shall shower. 
Ring, Liberty, thy glorious bell ! 
Bid high thy sacred banners swell ! 
Let trump on trump the triumph tell 
Of Heaven's redeeming power ! " * 

■ ■ K 

* These are the words of Henry Ware, jr., the last minister, 
eminent for religion, who had died in Boston. 



r 

I 



THE ASPECT OF FREEDOM IN AMERICA. 
A 

SPEECH 

AT THE 

MASS ANTI-SLAVERY CELEBRATION 
OF INDEPENDENCE, 

AT 

ABINGTON, JULY 5, 1852. 



I 



SPEECH. 



Mr. President, Ladies, and Gentlemen, — This 
is one of the anniversaries which mark four great 
movements in the progressive development of man- 
kind ; whereof each makes an Epoch in the history 
of the human race. 

The first is the Twenty -fifth of December, the 
date agreed upon as the anniversary of the Birth of 
Jesus of Nazareth, marking the Epoch of Chris- 
tianity. 

The next is the First of November, the day when, 
in 1517, Martin Luther nailed the ninety-five theses 
on the church door at Wittenberg, the noise of his 
hammer startling the indolence, the despotism, and 
the licentiousness of the Pope, and his concubines, 
and his court far off at Rome. That denotes the 
Epoch of Protestantism, the greatest movement of 
mankind after the teaching of Jesus. 

vol. i. 10 



110 



ASPECT OF FREEDOM IN AMERICA. 



The third is the Twenty-second of December, the 
day when our Forefathers, in 1620, first set their 
feet on Plymouth Rock, coming, though uncon- 
sciously, to build up a Church without a Bishop, a 
State without a King, a Community without a Lord, 
and a Family without a Slave. This begins the 
Epoch of New England. 

The last is the Fourth of July, when our Fathers, 
in 1776, brought distinctly to national consciousness 
what I call the American Idea ; the Idea, namely, 
that all men have natural rights to life, liberty, and 
the pursuit of happiness ; that all men are equal in 
their natural rights; that these rights can only be 
alienated by the possessor thereof; and that it is the 
undeniable function of government to preserve their 
rights to each and all. This day marks the Epoch 
of the United States of America — an Epoch indis- 
solubly connected with the three preceding. The 
Idea was Christian, was Protestant, was of New 
England. • Plymouth was becoming national, Protes- 
tantism going into politics ; and the Sentiments and 
Ideas of Christianity getting an expression on a na- 
tional scale. The Declaration of Independence was 
the American profession of faith in political Chris- 
tianity. 

This day is consecrated to freedom ; let us look, 
therefore, at the Aspect of Freedom just now in 
America. 

In 1776, there were less than three million per- 



ASPECT OF FREEDOM IN AMERICA. 



Ill 



sons in the United States. Now, more than three 
million voters. But, alas ! there are also more than 
three million slaves. Seventy-six years ago, slavery 
existed in all the thirteen colonies ; but New Eng- 
land was never quite satisfied with it ; only the cu- 
pidity of the Puritan assented thereto, not his con- 
science. Soon it retreated from New England, from 
all the North, but strengthened itself in the South, 
and spread Westward and Southward, till now it 
has crossed the Cordilleras, and the Pacific Ocean is 
witness to the gigantic wrong of the American 
People. 

But, spite of this growth of slavery, the Ameri- 
can Idea has grown in favor with the American 
people, the North continually becoming more and 
more democratic in the best sense of the word. 
True, in all the great cities of the North, the love of 
slavery has also grown strong, in none stronger than 
in Boston. The Mother city of the Puritans is now 
the metropolis of the Hunkers. Slavery also has 
entered the churches of the North, and some of 
them, we see, when called on to choose betwixt 
Christianity and slavery, openly and boldly decide 
against the Law of God, and in favor of this great 
crime against man. But simultaneously with this 
growth of Hunkerism in the cities and the churches 
of the North, at the same time with the spread of 
slavery from the Delaware to the Sacramento, the 



112 



ASPECT OF FREEDOM IN AMERICA. 



Spirit of Liberty has also spread, and taken a deep 
hold on the hearts of the people. 

In the material world, nothing is done by leaps, all 
by gradual advance. The land slopes upward all 
the way from Abington to the White Mountains. 
If Mt. Washington rose a mile and a quarter of 
sheer ascent, with perpendicular sides from the level 
of the ocean, only the eagle and the lightning could 
gain its top. Now its easy slope allows the girl to 
look down from its summit. 

What is true in the world of matter holds also 
good in the world of man. There is no leap, a slope 
always ; never a spring. The continuity of historical 
succession is never broke. Newtons and Shak- 
speares do not come up among Hottentots and Es- 
quimaux, but among young nations inheriting the 
old culture. Even the men of genius, who brood 
like a cloud over the vulgar herd, have their prede- 
cessors almost as high, and the continuity of succes- 
sion holds good in the Archimedes, the Gallileos, the 
Keplers, the Newtons, and the La Places. Chris- 
tianity would not have been possible in the time of 
Moses; nor Protestantism in the days of St. Augus- 
tine ; nor a New England Plymouth in the days of 
Luther ; nor any national recognition of the Ameri- 
can Idea in 1620. That Idea could not become a 
national Fact in 1776. No, not yet is it a fact. 

First comes the Sentiment — the feeling of liberty; 



ASPECT OF FREEDOM IN AMERICA. 



113 



next the Idea — the distinct notion thereof; then the 
Fact — the thought become a thing. Bads in March, 
blossoms in May, apples in September — that is the 
law of historical succession. 

The Puritans enslaved the Indians. In 1675, the 
Indian apostle petitioned the " Honorable Governor 
and Council sitting at Boston, this 13th of the 6th, 
'75," that they would not allow Indians to be sold 
into slavery. But John Eliot stood wellnigh alone 
in that matter. For three months later, I find the 
Governor, Leveret, gives a bill of sale of seven In- 
dians, " to be sold for slaves," and affixes thereto the 
" Publique Seale of the Colony." 

Well, there has been a great progress from 'that 
day to the Twelfth of April, 1851, when the mer- 
chants of Boston had to break the laws of Massachu- 
setts, and put the court house in chains, and get the 
chains over the neck of the Chief Justice, and call 
out the Sims brigade, before they could kidnap and 
enslave a single fugitive from Georgia. 

But it would not be historical to expect a nation 
to realize its own Idea at once, and allow all men to 
be "equal" in the enjoyment of their "natural and 
unalienable rights." Still, there has been a great 
progress towards that in the last seventy-six years, 
spite of the steps taken backward in some parts of 
the land. It is not a hundred and ten years since 
slaves were advertised for sale in Boston, as now in 
Norfolk ; not eighty years since they were property 

10* 



114 ASPECT OF FREEDOM IN AMERICA. 

in Massachusetts, and appraised in the inventories of 
deceased " Republicans." So then the cause of Af- 
rican freedom has a more auspicious look on the 
Fourth of July, 1852, than it had on the Fourth of 
July, 1776. We do not always think so, because we 
look at the present evil, not at the greater evils of 
the past. So much for the general aspect of this 
matter. 

Look now at the present position of the Political 
Parties. There are two great parties in America — 
only two. I. One is the Pro-Slavery Party. This 
has not yet attained a distinct consciousness of its 
idea and consequent function ; so there is contradic- 
tion in its opinions, vacillation in its conduct, and 
heterogeneous elements in its ranks. This has two 
divisions, namely : the Whigs and the Democrats. 
The two are one great national party — they are 
one in slavery, as all sects are " one in Christ." Yet 
they still keep up their distinctive banners, and shout 
their hostile war-cry ; but when they come to action, 
they both form column under the same leader, and 
fight for the same end — the promotion, the exten- 
sion, and the perpetuation of slavery. 

Once the Whig Party wanted a Bank. Democ- 
racy trod it to the earth. Then the Whigs clamored 
for a protective Tariff. That also seems now an ob- 
solete idea, and a revenue tariff is a fact accom- 
plished. The old issues between Whig and Demo- 



ASPECT OF FREEDOM IN AMERICA. 



115 



crat are out of date. Shall it be said the Whigs 
want a strong central government, and the Demo- 
crats are still anti-federal, and opposed to the cen- 
tralization of power ? It is not so. I can see no 
difference in the two parties in this matter ; both are 
ready to sacrifice the individual conscience to the 
brute power of arbitrary law ; each to crush the in- 
dividual rights of the separate States before the cen- 
tral power of the federal government. In passing the 
Fugitive Slave Bill, which aims at both these enor- 
mities, the Democrats outvied the Whigs ; in exe- 
cuting it, the Whigs outdo the Democrats, and kid- 
nap with a more malignant relish. I believe the 
official kidnappers are all Whigs, in Boston, New 
York, Philadelphia, and Buffalo. 

Both parties have now laid down their Platforms, 
and nominated their candidates for the Presidency, 
and hoisted them thereon. Their platforms are 
erected on slave soil, and made of slave timber. Both 
express the same devotion to slavery, the same ac- 
quiescence in the Fugitive Slave Bill. The Whig 
Party says, we " will discountenance all efforts at the 
renewal or continuance of such agitation [on the 
subject of slavery,] in Congress or out of it — when- 
ever, wherever, or however the attempt may be 
made." The Democrats say they "will, resist all 
attempts at reviving, in Congress or out of it, the 
agitation of the slavery question, under whatever 
shape or color the attempt may be made." There is 



116 



ASPECT OF FREEDOM IN AMERICA. 



the difference ; one will discountenance, and the other 
resist all agitation of the question which concerns 
the freedom of three million American citizens. Sla- 
very is their point of agreement. 

Both have nominated their champions — each a 
u General." They have passed by the eminent politi- 
cians, and selected men whose political experience is 
insignificant. The Democratic champion from New 
Hampshire jumps upon one platform, the Whig 
champion from New Jersey jumps upon the other, 
and each seems to like that "bad eminence " very 
well. But I believe that at what old politicians have 
left of a heart, both dislike slavery — perhaps about 
equally. General Pierce, in a public meeting, I am 
told, declared that the Fugitive Slave Bill was 
against the principles of the common law, and 
against natural moral right. General Scott, I am 
told, in a private conversation, observed, that if he 
were elected President, he would never appoint a 
slave-holder as Judge in any territory of the United 
States. Their letters accepting the nomination show 
the value of such public or private ejaculations. 

It is a little remarkable that War and Slavery 
should be the sine qua non in the Chief Magistrate of 
the United States, and of no other country. A wo- 
man may be Queen of England, and rule one hun- 
dred millions of men, and yet not favor the selling of 
Christians. A man may be "Prince President" of 
the mock republic of France, and hate slavery ; he 



ASPECT OF FREEDOM EN AMERICA. 117 

may be Emperor of Austria, or Autocrat of all the 
Russias, and think kidnapping is a sin ; yes, he may 
be Sultan of Turkey, and believe it self-evident that 
all men are created equal, with a natural, inherent, 
and unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit 
of happiness! But, to be President of the United 
States, a man must be devoted to slavery, and be- 
lieve in the u finality of the compromise measure?." 
and promise to discountenance or to resist all agita- 
tion of the subject of slavery, whenever, wherever, or 
however! Truly, " it is a great country." 

That is the aspect of the great Pro- Slavery Party 
of America. But I must say a word of the late 
Whig convention. It resulted in one of the most 
signal defeats that ever happened to an American 
statesman. Even Aaron Burr did not fall so sud- 
denly and deep into the ground, at his first downfall, 
k as Daniel Webster. 

If I am rightly informed, Mr. Mason, in 1850, 
brought forward the Fugitive Slave Bill, with no ex- 
pectation that it would pass; perhaps with no desire 
that it should pass. If it were rejected, then there 
was what seemed a tangible grievance, which the 
disunionists would lay hold of, as they cried for 
" secession." I do not know that it was so ; I am 
told so. He introduced the Bill. Mr. Webster 
seized it, made it his "thunder" on the 7th of March, 
1850. It seemed a tangible thing for him to hold 



118 



ASPECT OF FREEDOM IN AMERICA. 



on by, while he pushed from under him his old plat- 
form of liberty, made of such timbers as his orations 
at Plymouth, at Bunker Hill, at Faneuil Hall — his 
speech for the Greeks, and his speech against Gen. 
Taylor. He held on to it for two years, and three 
months, and fourteen days ; — a long time for him. 
He took hold on the 7th of March, 1850 ; and on the 
21st of June, 1852, his hands slipped off, and the 
Fugitive Slave Bill took flight towards the Presi- 
dency, without Daniel Webster, but with Gen. Pierce 
at one end of it, and Gen. Scott at the other. 

" The fiery pomp ascending left the view ; 
The prophet gazed — and wished to follow too." 

The downfall of Daniel Webster is terrible : — it 
was sudden, complete, and final. He has fallen 
" like Lucifer — never to hope again." ' 

His giant strength was never so severely tasked as 
in the support of slavery. What pains he took — 
up early and down late ! What speeches he made, 
— at Boston, New York, Albany, Syracuse, Roches- 
ter, Buffalo, at Philadelphia, and I know not at how 
many other places ! What letters he wrote ! And 
it was all to end in this ! What y a fee for what a 
pleading ! He was never so paid before. 

The pride of Boston — its Hunkerism — ten hun- 
dred strong, went to Baltimore to see him rise. 
They came back amazed at the totality of his down- 
fall ! 



ASPECT OF FREEDOM IN AMERICA. 



119 



I think this was at first the plan of some of the 
most skilful of the Northern leaders of the Whigs, 
to nominate General Scott without a platform — 
not committed to slavery or to freedom ; then to rep- 
resent him as opposed to slavery, and so on that 
ground to commend him to the North, and carry the 
election ; for any day when the North rallies, it can 
outvote the South. But some violent pro-slavery 
men framed the present platform, and brought it for- 
ward. The policy of Mr. Webster's friends would 
have been to say — " We need no platform for Mr. 
Webster. The speech of March 7th is his platform. 
Mr. Fillmore needs none. General Scott needs a 
platform, for you don't know his opinions." But, 
" it is enough for the servant that he be as his mas- 
ter." As Mr. Webster had caught at Mason's Bill, 
so the " Retainers " caught at the Northern platform, 
and one who has a great genius for oratory enlarged 
on its excellence, and whitewashed it all over with 
his peculiar rhetoric. The platform was set up by 
the Convention, to the great joy of the " Retainers " 
from New England ; when all at once, the image of 
General Scott appeared upon it ! He as well as 
Fillmore or Webster can stand there. This was the 
weight that pulled them down ; for after Scott had 
signified his willingness to accept the platform, the 
great objection to him on the part of the South was 
destroyed. 

The defeat of Mr. Webster is complete and awful. 



120 ASPECT OF FREEDOM IN AMERICA. 

In fifty-three ballotings, he never went beyond thirty- 
two votes out of 293. Fifty-three times was the 
vote taken, and fifty-three times the whole South 
voted against him. When it became apparent that 
the vote would fall to General Scott, Mr. Webster's 
friends went and begged the Southerners to give 
him a few votes, votes which could then do Mr. Fill- 
more no good ; but the South answered — not a 
vote ! They went with tears in their eyes ; still the 
South answered — not a vote ! That is a remark- 
able " chapter in History ! " 

Now that the great man has fallen, — utterly and 
terribly fallen, — a warning for many an age to 
come, I feel inclined to remember not only the jus- 
tice of the judgment, but the great powers and the 
great services of the victim. I wish something may 
be done to comfort him in his failure, and am glad 
that his friends now seek an opportunity to express 
their esteem. W T ords of endearment are worth some- 
thing when deeds of succor fail, and when words 
of consolation awake no hope. I think the anti- 
slavery men have dared to be just towards Mr. 
Webster, when he thundered from the seat of his 
power ; now let us be generous. I hope no needless 
word of delight at his fall will be spoken by any one 
of us. If we fought against the lion in his pride, 
and withstood his rage and his roar, let us now re- 
member that he was a lion, and not insult the pros- 
trate majesty of mighty power. " It was a grievous 



ASPECT OF FREEDOM IN AMERICA. 



121 



fault, and grievously hath Webster answered it." 
But there was greatness, even nobleness in the man : 
and much to excuse so monstrous a departure from 
the true and right. He was a bankrupt politician, 
and fancied that he saw within his grasp the scope 
and goal of all his life ; he represented a city whose 
controlling inhabitants prize gold and power above 
all things, and are not very scrupulous about the 
means to obtain either ; men that run their taxes, let 
shops for drunkeries and houses for brothels, and 
bribe a senator of the nation ! The New England 
doctors of divinity, in the name of God, justified his 
greatest crime. Do you expect more piety in the 
bear-garden of politics, than in the pulpit of the 
Christian church ? Let us remember these things 
when the mighty is fallen. Let us pity the lion now 
that his mane is draggled in the dust, and his mouth 
filled with Southern dirt. Blame there must be in- 
deed ; but pity for fallen greatness should yet prevail 
— not the pity of contempt, but the pity of compas- 
sion, the pity of love. Let us gather up the white 
ashes of him who perished at the political stake, 
and do loving honor to any good thing in his charac- 
ter and his life. If we err at all, let it be on the side 
of charity. We all need that. 

If General Scott is President, I take it we shall 
have a moderate pro-slavery administration, fussy and 
feathery ; that we shall take a large slice from Mexico 

vol. i. 11 



122 ASPECT OF FREEDOM IX AMERICA. 

during the next four years. General Scott is a mili- 
tary man, of an unblemished character, I believe — 
that is, with no unpopular vices — but with the pre- 
judices of a military man. He proposes to confer 
citizenship on any foreigner who has served a year 
in the army or navy of the United States, and seems 
to think a year of work at fighting is as good a 
qualification for American citizenship as five years 
industrious life on a farm, or in a shop. This is a 
little too military for the American taste, but will 
suit the military gentlemen who like to magnify 
their calling. 

If General Pierce is chosen, I take it we shall have 
a strong pro-slavery administration ; shall get the 
slice of Mexico, and Cuba besides, in the next four 
years. " Manifest destiny " will probably point that 
way. 

I do not know that it will not be better for the 
cause of freedom that Pierce should succeed. Per- 
haps the sooner this whole matter is brought to a 
crisis, the better. In each party there is a large body 
of Hunkers, — men who care little or nothing for the 
natural rights of man ; mean, selfish men, who seek 
only their own gratification, and care not at what 
cost to mankind this is procured. If the Whig 
Party is defeated, I take it the majority of these 
Hunkers will gradually fall in with the Democrats ; 
that the Whig Party will not rally again under its 
old name ; that the party of Hunkers will hoist the 



ASPECT OF FREEDOM IN AMERICA. 123 

flag of slavery, and the whole hosts of noble, honest, 
and religious men in both parties will flee out from 
under that flag, and go over to the Party of Free- 
dom. Now the sooner this separation of the ele- 
ments takes place, the better. Then we shall know 
who are our friends, who our foes. Men will have 
the real issue set before them. But, until the sepa- 
ration is effected, many good men will cling to their 
old party organization, with the delusive hope of op- 
posing slavery thereby. Thus we see two such valu- 
able newspapers as the New York Evening Post and 
the Tribune, with strong anti-slavery feelings, at work 
for the Democrats or the Whigs. I think this is the 
last Presidential election in which such journals will 
defend such a platform. 

II. Look at the Anti-Slavery Party. Here 
also are two great divisions : one is political, the 
other moral. A word of each — of the political 
party first. 

This is formed of three sections. One is the Free 
Soil party, which has come mainly from the Whigs ; 
the next is the Free Democracy, the Barnburners,, 
who have come mainly from the Democrats. Each 
of these* has the prejudices of its own historical tra- 
dition — Whig prejudices or Democratic prejudices ; 
it has also the excellences of its primal source. I 
include the Liberty party in this Free Soil, Free 



124 ASPECT OF FREEDOM IX AMERICA. 



Democratic division. They differ from the other in 
this — a denial that the Constitution of the United 
States authorizes or allows slavery; a denial that 
slavery is constitutional in the nation, or even legal 
in any State. 

But all these agree in a strong feeling against sla- 
very. They are one in freedom, as the Whigs and 
Democrats are one in slavery. Part of this feeling 
they have translated into an Idea. To express it in 
their most general terms — Slavery is sectional, not 
national ; belongs to the State, and not the Federal 
Government. Hence they aim to cut the nation 
free from slavery altogether, but will leave it to the 
individual States. 

This political Anti- Slavery party is a very strong 
party. It is considerable by its numbers — power- 
ful enough to hold the balance of power in several 
of the States. Four years ago, it cast three hundred 
thousand votes. This year I think it will go up to 
four hundred thousand. 

But it is stronger in the talent and character of its 
eminent men, than in the force of its numbers. You 
know those men. I need not speak of Chase and 
Hale, of Giddings and of Mann, with their coadju- 
tors in Congress and out of it. Look at names not 
so well known as yet in our national debates. Here 
is a noble speech from Mr. Townshend, one new 
ally in the field from the good State of Ohio. This 
is the first speech of his that I have ever read ; it is 



ASPECT OF FREEDOM IX AMERICA. 



12-3 



full of promise. There is conscience in this man ; 
there is power of work in him. 

Air. Rantoul has done honorably — done nobly, 
indeed. What he will say to-day, I shall not pre- 
tend to calculate. He is a politician, like others, and 
in a very dangerous position ; but I have much faith 
in him ; and, at any rate, I thank God for what he 
has done already. He is a man of a good deal of 
ability, and may be trusted yet to do us good service, 
not in your way or my way, but in his own way. 

I ought to say a word of Mr. Sumner. I know 
that he has disappointed the expectations of his best 
friends by keeping silent so long. But Mr. Sumner's 
whole life shows him to be an honest man, not a sel- 
fish man at all — a man eminently sincere, and 
eminently trustworthy, eminently just. He has a 
right to choose his own time to speak. I wish he 
had spoken long ago, and I doubt if this long delay 
is wholly wise for him. But it is for him to decide, 
not for us. " A fool's bolt is soon shot," while a 
wise man often reserves his fire. He should not be 
taunted with his remarks made when he had no 
thought of an election to the Senate. A man often 
thinks a thing easy, which he finds difficult when he 
comes up to the spot. But this winter past. Air. 
Sumner has not been idle. I have a letter from an 
eminent gentleman at Washington, — a man bred in 
kings' courts abroad, — who assures me that Sumner 
has carried the ideas of freedom where they have 
11* 



126 ASPECT OF FREEDOM IN AMERICA. 

never been carried before, and when he speaks, will 
be listened to with much more interest than if he 
had uttered his speech at his first entrance to Con- 
gress. Depend upon it, we shall hear the right word 
from Charles Sumner, yet. I do not believe that he 
has waited to make it easy for him to speak, but 
that it may be better for his Idea, and the cause of 
Freedom he was sent there to represent. 

Then there is another man of great mark on the 
same side. I mean Mr. Seward. He is nominally 
with the Whigs, but he is really of the Political 
Anti- Slavery Party, the chief man in it. Just now 
he has more influence than any man in the Northern 
States, and is the only prominent Whig politician of 
whom we might wisely predict a brilliant future. 
General Scott, I take it, owes his nomination to 
Senator Seward. In the Convention, he seems to 
have wished for three things : — 1. To defeat Mr. 
Webster at all events. 2. To defeat Mr. Fillmore, 
if possible. 3. To have the nomination of General 
Scott, without a platform, if possible, but if not, 
with a platform., even with the present platform. 
Had General Scott been nominated without a sla- 
very platform, I think Mr. Seward, and many other 
leading Free Soilers, would have stood by to help 
his election — would have taken office had he suc- 
ceeded, and I think his chance of success would not 
have been a bad one then. But now Mr. Seward 
stands out for a more distant day. He will not ac- 



ASPECT OF FREEDOM IX AMERICA. 



127 



cept office under General Scott. He sees that Scott 
is a compromise candidate, conceded by the fears of 
the South ; that his administration must be a com- 
promise administration, and he that succeeds 
on that basis now is sure to be overtaken by 
political ruin at no distant day. He reserves his 
fire till he is nearer the mark ! I think we may yet 
see him the candidate of a great Northern Party for 
the Presidency ; see him elected. 

Such is the aspect of the Political Anti-Slavery 
Party. It defeated the strongest pro-slavery section 
of the Whigs in their convention, defeated them of 
their candidate, sent the one thousand Hunkers of 
Boston home from Baltimore, in a rather melancholy 
state of mind. We shall soon see what it will do 
in its national convention at Pittsburgh, on the 11th 
of August 

Now a word on the Moral division of the Anti- 
Slavery party. I use the word Moral merelv as 
opposed to Political. It is a party not organized to 
get votes, but to kindle a Sentiment and diffuse an 
Idea. Its Sentiment is that of Universal Philan- 
thropy, specially directed towards the African Race 
in America. Its Idea is the American Idea, of 
which it has a quite distinct consciousness — the 
Idea of the Declaration of Independence. It does 
not limit itself by constitutional, but only by moral 
restrictions. 



128 ASPECT OF FREEDOM IN AMERICA. 

The functions of this party is to kindle the Senti- 
ment and diffuse the Idea of Universal Freedom. It 
is about this work to-day. These four thousand 
faces before me at this moment are lit with this 
Idea ; the other thousands beyond the reach of my 
voice are not without it. It will not be satisfied till 
there is not a slave in America — not a slave in the 
world. 

This party is powerful by its Sentiments, its Ideas, 
and its Eminent Men ; not yet by its numbers. 
Here is one indication of its power — the absolute 
hatred in which it is held by all the Hunkers of the 
land. How Mr. Webster speaks of this party ; with 
the intense malignity of affected scorn. Men do not 
thus hate a mouse in the wall. Then the abuse 
which we receive from all the gnats and mosquitoes 
of the political penny press is a sign also of our 
power. There are Hunkers who know that our 
Ideas are just — that they will be triumphant; hence 
their hate of our Ideas, and their hate of us. 

Well, gentlemen, the cause of freedom looks very 
auspicious to-day : it never looked better. Every 
apparent national triumph of slavery is only a step 
to its defeat. The annexation of Texas, the Fugi- 
tive Slave Bill, are measures that ultimately will 
help the cause of freedom. At first, if a man is 
threatened with a fever, the doctor tries to " throw it 
off." If that is impossible, he hastens the crisis — 



ASPECT OF FREEDOM IX AMERICA. 129 

knowing that the sooner that comes, the sooner will 
the man be well again. I think General Pierce will 
hasten the crisis, when a Northern party shall get 
founded, with the American Idea for its motto. 
The recent action of Congress, the recent decisions 
of the Supreme Court, the recent action of the Exec- 
utive, have de facto established this : that slavery in 
the States is subject to the control of the Federal 
Government. True, they apply this only to the 
Northern States ; but if the Federal Government 
can interfere with slavery in Massachusetts, to the 
extent of kidnapping a man in Boston, and keeping 
him in duresse by force of armed soldiers, then the 
principle is established, that the Federal Government 
may interfere with slavery in South Carolina ; and 
when we get the spirit of the North aroused, and the 
numbers of the North on the side of freedom, it will 
take but a whiff of breath to annihilate human 
bondage from the Delaware to the Sacramento. 

Even the course of Politics is in our favor. The 
spirit of this Teutonic family of men is hostile to 
slavery. We alone preserve slavery which all the 
other tribes have cast off. We cannot keep it long. 
The Ideas of America, the Ideas of Christianity, are 
against it. The spirit of the age is hostile — ay, the 
spirit of mankind and the Nature of the Infinite 
God! 



DISCOURSE 

OCCASIONED BY THE 

DEATH OF DANIEL WEBSTER. 



PREACHED AT THE MELODEON 



ON SUNDAY, OCTOBER 31, 1 852. 



PREFACE. 



It is now four months since the delivery of this Sermon. 
A phonographic report of it was published the next morn- 
ing, and quite extensively circulated in all parts of the 
country. Since then, I have taken pains to examine anew 
the life and actions of the distinguished man who is the 
theme of the discourse. I have carefully read all the criti- 
cisms on my estimate of him, which came to hand ; I have 
diligently read the most important sermons and other dis- 
courses which treat of him, and have conversed anew with 
persons who have known Mr. Webster at all the various pe- 
riods of his life. The result is embodied in the following 
pages. 

My estimate of Mr. Webster differs from that which 
seems to prevail just now in Church and State ; differs 
widely ; differs profoundly. I did not suppose that my 
judgment upon him would pass unchallenged. I have not 
been surprised at the swift condemnation which many men 
have pronounced upon this sermon, — upon the statements 
therein, and the motives thereto. I should be sorry to find 
that Americans valued a great man so little as to have 

VOL. I. 12 , 



134 PREFACE. 

nothing to say in defence of one so long and so conspicu- 
ously before -the public. The violence and rage directed 
against me is not astonishing ; it is not even new. I am 
not vain enough to fancy that I have never been mistaken 
in a fact of Mr. "Webster's history, or in my judgment pro- 
nounced on any of his actions, words, or motives. I can 
only say I have done what I could. If I have committed 
any errors, I hope they will be pointed out. Fifty years 
hence, the character of Mr. Webster and his eminent con- 
temporaries will be better understood than now ; for we have 
not yet all the evidence on which the final judgment of pos- 
terity will rest. Thomas Hutchinson and John Adams are 
better known now than at the day of their death ; five and 
twenty years hence they will both be better known than at 
present. 

Boston, March 7, 1853. 



INTRODUCTION. 



TO THE YOUXG MEN OP AMERICA. 

Gentlemen, — I address this Discourse to you in 
particular, and by way of introduction will say a few 
words. 

"We are a young nation, three and twenty millions 
strong, rapidly extending in our geographic spread, en- 
larging rapidly in numerical power, and greatening our 
material strength with a swiftness which has no example. 
Soon we shall spread over the whole continent, and 
number a hundred million men. America and England 
are but parts of the same nation, — a younger and an older 
branch of the same Anglo-Saxon stem. Our character will 
affect that of the mother country, as her good and evil 
still influence us. Considering the important place which 
the Anglo-Saxon tribe holds in the world at this day, — 
occupying one eighth part of the earth, and controlling one 
sixth part of its inhabitants, — the national character of 
England and America becomes one of the great human 
forces which is to control the world for some ages to come. 

In the American character there are some commanding 



136 



INTRODUCTION. 



and noble qualities. . We have founded some political and 
ecclesiastical institutions which seem to me the proudest 
achievements of mankind in Church and State. But there 
are other qualities in the nation's character which are mean 
and selfish ; we have founded other institutions, or confirmed 
such as we inherited, which were the weakness of a former 
and darker age, and are the shame of this. 

The question comes, Which qualities shall prevail in the 
character and in the institutions of America, — the noble, or 
the mean and selfish ? Shall America govern herself by 
the eternal laws, as they are 1 discerned through the con- 
science of mankind, or by the transient appetite of the hour, ( 
— the lust for land, for money, for power, or fame ? That 
is a question for you to settle ; and, as you decide for God 
or Mammon, so follows the weal or woe of millions of men. 
Our best institutions are an experiment : shall it fail ? If so, 
it will be through your fault. You have the power to make 
it succeed. We have nothing to fear from any foreign foe, 
much to dread from Wrong at home : will you suffer that to 
work our overthrow ? 

The two chief forms of American action are Business and 
Politics, — the commercial and the political form. The two 
humbler forms of our activity, the Church and the Press, 
the ecclesiastic and the literary form, — are subservient to 
the others. Hence it becomes exceedingly important to 
study carefully our commercial and political action, criti- 
cizing both by the Absolute Eight ; for they control the 
development of the people, and determine our character. 
The commercial and political forces of the time culminate 
in the leading politicians, who represent those forces in 



INTRODUCTION. 



137 



their persons, and direct the energies of the people to evil 
or to good. 

It is for this reason, young men, that I have spoken so 
many times from the pulpit on the great political questions 
of the day, and on the great political men ; for this reason 
did I preach and now again publish, this Discourse, on one 
of the most eminent Americans of our day, — that men may 
be warned of the evil in our Business and our State, and 
be guided to the Eternal Justice which is the foundation of 
the common weal. There is a Higher Law of God, written 
imperishably on the Nature of Things, and in the Nature of 
Man ; and, if this nation continually violates that Law, then 
we fall a ruin to the ground. 

If there be any Truth, any Justice, in my counsel, I 
hope you will be guided thereby ; and, in your commerce 
and politics, will practise on the truth which ages confirm, 
that Righteousness exalteth a Nation, while Injustice is 
a reproach to any People. 



12* 



DISCOURSE. 



When Bossuet, who was himself the eagle of 
eloquence, preached the funeral discourse on Henri- 
etta Maria, daughter of Henry the Fourth of France, 
and wife of Charles the First of England, he had a 
task far easier than mine to-day. She was indeed 
the queen of misfortunes; the daughter of a king 
assassinated in his own capital, and the widow of a 
king judicially put to death in front of his own 
palace. Her married life was bounded by the mur- 
der of her royal sire, and the execution of her kingly 
spouse ; and she died neglected, far from kith and 
kin. But for that great man, who in his youth was 
called, prophetically, a " Father of the Church," the 
sorrows of her birth and her estate made it easy to 
gather up the audience in his arms, to moisten the 
faces of men with tears, to show them the nothing- 
ness of mortal glory, and the beauty of eternal life. 
He led his hearers to his conclusion that day, as the 



140 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



mother lays the sobbing child in her bosom to still 
its grief. 

To-day it is not so with me. Of all my public 
trials, this is my most trying day. Give me your 
sympathies, my friends ; remember the difficulty of 
my position, — its delicacy too. 

I am to speak of one of the most conspicuous 
men that New England ever bore, — conspicuous, 
not by accident, but by the nature of his mind, — 
one of her ablest intellects. I am to speak of an 
eminent man, of great power, in a great office, one 
of the landmarks of politics, now laid low. He 
seemed so great that some men thought he was him- 
self one of the institutions of America. I am to 
speak while his departure is yet but of yesterday ; 
while the sombre flags still float in our streets. I 
am no party man ; you know I am not. No party 
is responsible for me, nor I to any one. I am free 
to commend the good things of all parties, — their 
great and good men ; free likewise to censure the 
evil of all parties. You will not ask me to say what 
only suits the public ear: there are a hundred to do 
that to-day. I do not follow opinion because popu- 
lar. I cannot praise a man because he had great 
gifts, great station, and great opportunities ; I cannot 
harshly censure a man for trivial mistakes. \ou 
W'ill not ask me to natter because others natter ; to 
condemn because the ruts of condemnation are so 
deep and so easy to travel in. It is unjust to be un- 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



141 



generous, either in praise or blame : only the truth 
is beautiful in speech. It is not reverential to treat 
a great man like a spoiled child. Most of you are 
old enough to know that good and evil are both to 
be expected of each man. I hope you are all wise 
enough to discriminate between right and wrong. 

Give me your sympathies. This I am sure of, — 
I shall be as tender in my judgment as a woman's 
love ; I will try to be as fair as the justice of a man. 
I shall tax your time beyond even my usual wont, 
for I cannot crush Olympus into a nut. Be not 
alarmed: if I tax your time the more, I shall tire 
your patience less. Such a day as this will never 
come again to you or me. There is no Daniel 
Webster left to die, and Nature will not soon give 
us another such as he. I will take care by my 
speech that you sit easy on your bench. The theme 
will assure it that you remember what I say. 

A great man is the blossom of the world ; the in- 
dividual and prophetic flower, parent of seeds that 
Will be men. This is the greatest work of God; far 
transcending earth, and moon, and sun, and all the 
material magnificence of the universe. It is " a little 
lower than the angels," and, like the aloe-tree, it 
blooms but once an age. So we should value, love y 
and cherish it the more. America has not many 



142 DANIEL WEBSTER. 

great men living now, — scarce one : there have been 
few in her history. Fertile in multitudes, she is 
stingy in greatness, — her works mainly achieved by 
large bodies of but common men. At this day, the 
world has not many natural masters. There is a 
dearth of great men. England is no better off than 
we her child. Sir Robert Peel has for years been 
dead. Wellington's soul has gone home, and left 
his body awaiting burial. In France, Germany, 
Italy, and Russia, few great characters appear. The 
Revolution of 1848, which found every thing else, 
failed because it found not them. A sad Hungarian 
weeps over the hidden crown of Maria Theresa; a 
sadder countenance drops a tear for the nation of 
Dante, and the soil of Virgil and Caesar, Lucretius 
and Cicero. To me these two seem the greatest 
men of Europe now. There are great chemists, great 
geologists, great philologians ; but of great men, Chris- 
tendom has not many. From the highest places of 
politics greatness recedes, and in all Europe no 
kingly intellect now throbs beneath a royal crown. 
Even Nicholas of Russia is only tall, not great. 

But here let us pause a moment, and see what 
greatness is, looking at the progressive formation of 
the idea of a great man. 

In general, greatness is eminence of ability ; so 
there are as many different forms thereof as there are 
qualities wherein a man may be eminent. These 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



143 



various forms of greatness should be distinctly 
marked, that, when we say a man is great, we may 
know exactly what we mean. 

In the rudest ages, w T hen the body is man's only 
tool for work or war, eminent Strength of Body is 
the thing most coveted. Then, and so long as human 
affairs are controlled by brute force, the giant is 
thought to be the great man, — is had in honor for 
his eminent brute strength. 

When men have a little outgrown that period of 
force, Cunning is the quality most prized. The 
.nimble brain outwits the heavy arm, and brings the 
circumvented giant to the ground. He who can 
overreach his antagonist, plotting more subtly, win- 
ning with more deceitful skill; who can turn and 
double on his unseen track, " can smile and smile, 
and be a villain," — he is the great man. 

Brute force is merely animal ; cunning is the 
animalism of the intellect, — the mind's least intel- 
lectual element. As men go on in their development, 
finding qualities more valuable than the strength of 
the lion or the subtlety of the fox, they come to value 
higher intellectual faculties, — great Understanding, 
great Imagination, great Reason. Power to think 
is then the faculty men value most ; ability to devise 
means for attaining ends desired ; the power to 
originate ideas, to express them in speech, to organ- 
ize them into institutions ; to organize things into a 
machine, men into an army, or a State, or a gang of 



144 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



operatives ; to administer these various organiza- 
tions. He who is eminent in this ability is thought 
the great man. 

But there are qualities nobler than the mere intel- 
lect, the Moral, the Affectional, the Religious Facul- 
ties, — the power of justice, of love, of holiness, of 
trust in God, and of obedience to his law, — the 
Eternal Right. These are the highest qualities of 
man : whoso is most eminent therein is the greatest 
of great men. He is as much above the merely 
intellectual great men, as they above the men of mere 
cunning or of force. 

Thus, then, we have four different kinds of great- 
ness. Let me name them bodily greatness, crafty 
greatness, intellectual greatness, religious greatness. 
Men in different degrees of development will value 
the different kinds of greatness. Belial cannot yet 
honor Christ. How can the little girl appreciate 
Aristotle and Kant? The child thinks as a child. 
You must have manhood in you to honor it in 
others, even to see it. 

Yet how we love to honor men eminent in such 
modes of greatness as we can understand ! Indeed, 
we must do so. Soon as we really see a real great 
man, his magnetism draws us, will we or no. Do 
any of you remember when, for the first time in 
adult years, you stood beside the ocean, or some 
great mountain of New Hampshire, or Virginia, or 
Pennsylvania, or the mighty mounts that rise in 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



145 



Switzerland ? Do you remember what emotions 
came upon you at the awful presence ? But if you 
are confronted by a man of vast genius, of colossal 
history and achievements, immense personal power 
of wisdom, justice, philanthropy, religion, of mighty 
power of will and mighty act ; if you feel him as 
you feel the mountain and the sea, what grander 
emotions spring up ! It is like making the acquaint- 
ance of one of the elementary forces of the earth, — 
like associating with gravitation itself! The stiflfest 
neck bends over : down go the democratic knees ; 
human nature is loyal then ! A New England ship- 
master, wrecked on an island in the Indian Sea, 
was seized by his conquerors, and made their chief. 
Their captive became their king. After years of 
rule, he managed to escape. When he once more 
visited his former realm, he found that the savages 
had carried him to heaven, and worshipped him as a 
God greater than their fancied deities : he had revo- 
lutionized divinity, and was himself enthroned as a 
God. Why so ? In intellectual qualities, in relig- 
ious qualities, he was superior to their idea of God, 
and so they worshipped him. Thus loyal is human 
nature to its great men. 

Talk of Democracy ! — we are all looking for a 
master ; a man manlier than we. We are always 
looking for a great man to solve the difficulty too 
hard for us, to break the rock which lies in our way, 
— to represent the possibility of human nature as an 

vol. i. 13 



146 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



ideal, and then to realize that ideal in his life. Little 
boys in the country, working against time, with 
stints to do, long for the passing-by of some tall 
brother, who in a few minutes shall achieve what 
the smaller boy took hours to do. And we are all 
of us but little boys, looking for some great brother 
to come and help us end our tasks. 

But it is not quite so easy to recognize the great- 
est kind of greatness. A Xootka-Sound Indian 
would not see much in Leibnitz, Newton, Socrates, 
or Dante ; and if a great man were to come as much 
before us as we are before the Nootka- Sounders, 
what should we say of him ? Why, the worst 
names we could devise, Blasphemer, Hypocrite, Infi- 
del, Atheist. Perhaps we should dig up the old 
cross, and make a new martyr of the man posterity 
will worship as a deity. It is the men who are up 
that see the rising sun, not the sluggards. It takes 
greatness to see greatness, and know it at the first ; 
I mean to see greatness of the highest kind. Bulk, 
anybody can see ; bulk of body or mind. The lofti- 
est form of greatness is never popular in its time. 
Men cannot understand or receive it. Guinea ne- 
groes would think a juggler a greater man than 
Franklin. What would be thought of Martin 
Luther at Rome, of Washington at St. Petersburgh, 
of Fenelon among the Sacs and Foxes ? Herod 
and Pilate were popular in their day, — men of 
property and standing. They got nominations and 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



147 



honor enough. Jesus of Nazareth got no nomina- 
tion, got a cross between two thieves, was crowned 
with thorns, and, when he died, eleven Galileans 
gathered together to lament their Lord ! Any man 
can measure a walking-stick, — so many hands long, 
and so many nails beside ; but it takes a mountain- 
intellect to measure the Andes and Altai. 

Now and 'then, God creates a mighty man, who 
greatly influences mankind. Sometimes he reaches 
far on into other ages. Such a man, if he be of the 
greatest, will, by and by, unite in himself the four 
chief forces of society, — business, politics, literature, 
and the church. Himself a stronger force than all of 
these, he will at last control the commercial, political, 
literary, and ecclesiastical action of mankind. But 
just as he is greater than other men, in the highest 
mode of greatness, will he at first be opposed, and 
hated too. The tall house in the street darkens the 
grocer's window opposite, and he must strike his 
light sooner than before. The inferior great man 
does not understand the man of superior modes of 
eminence. Sullenly the full moon at morning pales 
her ineffectual light before the rising day. In the 
Greek fable, jealous Saturn devours the new gods 
whom he feared, foreseeing the day when the Olym- 
pian dynasty would turn him out of heaven. To 
the natural man the excellence of the spiritual is 
only foolishness. What do you suppose the best 
educated Pharisees in Jerusalem thought of Jesus I 



148 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



They thought him an infidel : " He blasphemeth." 
They called him crazy : " he hath a devil." They 
mocked at the daily beauty of his holiness : he had 
" broken the sabbath." They reviled at his philan- 
thropy : it was " eating with publicans and sinners." 

Human nature loves to reverence great men, and 
often honors many a little one under the mistake 
that he is great. See how nations honor the greatest 
great men, — Moses, Zoroaster, Socrates, Jesus, — 
that loftiest of men ! But by how many false men 
have we been deceived, — men whose light leads to 
bewilder, and dazzles to blind! If a preacher is a 
thousand years before you and me, we cannot under- 
stand him. If only a hundred years of thought 
shall separate us, there is a great gulf between the 
two, whereover neither Dives nor Abraham, nor yet 
Moses himself, can pass. It is a false great man 
often who gets possession of the pulpit, with his les- 
son for to-day, which is no lesson ; and a false great 
man who gets a throne, with his lesson for to-day, 
which is also no lesson. Men great in little things 
are sure of their pay. It is all ready, subject to their 
order. 

A little man is often mistaken for a great one. 
The possession of office, of accidental renown, of 
imposing qualities, of brilliant eloquence, often daz- 
zles the beholder ; and he reverences a show. 

How much a great man of the highest kind can 
do for us, and how easy ! It is not harder for a 



DAXIEL WEBSTER. 



149 



cloud to thunder, than for a chestnut in a farmer's 
fire to snap. Dull Mr. Jingle urges along his* restive, 
hardmouthed donkey, besmouched with mire, and 
wealed with many a stripe, amid the laughter of the 
boys ; while, by his proper motion, swanlike Milton 
flies before the faces of mankind, which are new lit 
with admiration at the poet's rising flight, his gar- 
lands and singing robes about him, till the aspiring 
glory transcends the sight, yet leaves its track of 
beauty trailed across the sky. 

Intellect and conscience are conversant with ideas, 
— with absolute Truth and absolute Right, as the 
norm of conduct. But, with most men, the affec- 
tions are developed in advance of the intellect and 
the conscience ; and the affections want a person. 
In his actions, a man of great intellect embodies a 
principle, good or bad ; and, by the affections, men 
accept the great intellectual man, bad or good, and 
with him the principle he has got. 

As the affections are so large in us, how delightful 
is it for us to see a great man, honor him, love him, 
reverence him, trust him ! Crowds of men come to 
look upon a hero's face, who are all careless of his 
actions and heedless of his thought ; they know not 
his what, nor his whence, nor his whither ; his per- 
son passes for reason, justice, and religion. 

They say that women have the most of this affec- 
tion, and so are most attachable, most swayed by 
persons, — least by ideas. Woman's mind and con- 

13* 



150 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



science, and her soul, they say, are easily crushed 
into her all-embracing heart ; and truth, justice, and 
holiness are trodden underfoot by her affection, rush- 
ing towards its object. "What folly!" say men. 
But, when a man of large intellect comes, he is wont 
to make women of us all, and take us by the heart. 
Each great intellectual man, if let alone, will have 
an influence in proportion to his strength of mind 
and will, — the good great man, the bad great man ; 
for as each particle of matter has an attractive force, 
which affects all other matter, so each particle of 
mind has an attractive force, which draws all other 
mind. 

How pleasant it is to love and reverence ! To 
idle men how much more delightful is. it than to 
criticize a man, take him to pieces, weighing each 
part, and considering every service done or promised, 
and then decide ! Men are continually led astray 
by misplaced reverence. Shall we be governed by 
the mere instinct of veneration, uncovering to every 
man who demands our obeisance ? Man is to rule 
himself, and not be overmastered by any instinct 
subordinating the whole to a special part. We 
ought to know if what we follow be real greatness 
or seeming greatness; and of the real greatness, of 
what kind it is, — eminent cunning, eminent intel- 
lect, or eminence of religion. For men ought not to 
gravitate passively, drawn by the bulk of bigness, 
but consciously and freely to follow eminent wisdom, 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



151 



justice, love, and faith in God. Hence it becomes 
exceedingly important to study the character of all 
eminent men ; for they represent great social forces 
for good or ill. 

It is true, great men ought to be tried by their 
peers. But " a cat may look upon a king," and, if 
she is to enter his service, will do well to look before 
she leaps. It is dastardly in a democrat to take a 
master with less scrutiny than he % would buy an ox. 

Merchants watch the markets : they know what 
ship brings corn, what hemp, what coal ; how much 
cotton there is at New York or New Orleans ; how 
much gold in the banks. They learn these things, 
because they live by the market, and seek to get 
money by their trade. Politicians watch the turn of 
the people and the coming vote, because they live 
by the ballot-box, and wish to get honor and office 
by their skill. So a minister, who would guide men 
to wisdom, justice, love, and piety, to human wel- 
fare, — he must watch the great men, and know 
what quantity of truth, of justice, of love, and of 
faith there is in Calhoun, Webster, Clay ; because 
he is to live by the word of God, and only asks, 
" Thy kingdom come ! " 

What a great power is a man of large intellect ! 
Aristotle rode on the neck of science for two thou- 
sand years, till Bacon, charging down from the vant- 
age-ground of twenty centuries, with giant spear 
unhorsed the Stagyrite, and mounted there himself; 



152 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



himself in turn to be unhorsed. What a profound 
influence had Frederick in Germany for half a cen- 
tury ! "What an influence Sir Robert Peel and Wel- 
lington have had in England for the last twenty or 
thirty years ! — Napoleon in Europe for the last fifty 
years ! Jefferson yet leads the democracy of the 
United States ; the cold hand of Hamilton still con- 
solidates the several States. Dead men of great in- 
tellect speak from the pulpit. Law is of mortmain. 

In America it is above all things necessary to 
study the men of eminent mind, even the men of 
eminent station ; for their power is greater here than 
elsewhere in Christendom. Money is our only ma- 
terial, greatness our only personal nobility. In Eng- 
land, the influence of powerful men is checked by 
the great families, the great classes, with their ances- 
tral privileges consolidated into institutions, and the 
hereditary crown. Here we have no such families : 
historical men are not from or for such ; seldom had 
historic fathers : seldom leave historic sons. 

Tempus ferax hominum, edax hominum. 

Fruitful of men is time ; voracious also of men. 

Even while the individual family continues rich, 
political unity does not remain in its members, if 
numerous, more than a single generation. Nay, it 
is only in families of remarkable stupidity that it 
lasts a single age. 

In this country the swift decay of powerful families 
is a remarkable fact Nature produces only indi- 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



153 



viduals, not classes. It is a wonder how many 
famous Americans leave no children at all. Han- 
cock, and Samuel Adams, Washington, Madison, 
Jackson — each was a childless flower that broke off 
the top of the family tree, which after them dwindled 
down, and at length died out. It has been so with 
European stocks of eminent stature. Bacon, Shak- 
speare, Leibnitz, Newton, Descartes, and Kant died 
and left no sign. With strange self-complaisance 
said the first of these, " Great benefactors have been 
childless men." Here and there an American family 
continues to bear famous fruit, generation after gen- 
eration. A single New England tree, rooted far off 
in the Marches of Wales, is yet green with life, 
though it has twice blossomed with Presidents. But 
in general, if the great American leave sons, the 
wonder is what becomes of them, — so little, they are 
lost, — a single needle from the American pine, to 
strew the forest floor amid the other litter of the 
woods. 

No great families here hold great men in check. 
There is no permanently powerful class. The me- 
chanic is father of the merchant, who will again be 
the grandsire of mechanics. In thirty years, half the 
wealth of Boston will be in the hands of men now 
poor ; and, where power of money is of yesterday, it 
is no great check to any man of large intellect, in- 
dustry, and will. Here is no hereditary office. So 
the personal power of a great mind, for good or evil, 



154 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



is free from that threefold check it meets in other 
lands, and becomes of immense importance. 

Our nation is a great committee of the whole ; our 
State is a provisional government, riches our only 
heritable good, greatness our only personal nobility ; 
office is elective. To the ambition of a great bad 
man, or the philanthropy of a great good man, there 
is no check but the power of money or numbers ; no 
check from great families, great classes, or hereditary 
privileges. If our man of large intellect runs up hill, 
there is nothing to check him but the inertia of man- 
kind ; if he runs down hill, that also is on his side. 

With us the great mind is amenable to no conven- 
tional standard measure, as in England or Europe, — 
only to public opinion. And that public opinion is 
controlled by money and numbers ; for these are the 
two factors of the American product, the multiplier 
and the multiplicand, — millions of money, millions 
of men. 

A great mind is like an elephant in the line of an- 
cient battle, — the best ally if you can keep him in 
the ranks, fronting the right way ; but, if he turn 
about, he is the fatalest foe, and treads his master 
underneath his feet. Great minds have a trick of 
turning round. 

Taking all these things into consideration, you see 
how important it is to scrutinize all the great men, — 
to know their quantity and quality, — before we 
allow them to take our heart. To do this is to 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



155 



measure one of the most powerful popular forces for 
guiding the present and shaping the future. Every 
office is to be filled by the people's vote, — that of 
public president and private cook. Franklin intro- 
duced new philanthrophy to the law of nations. 
Washington changed men's ideas of political great- 
ness. If Napoleon the Present goes unwhipped of 
Justice, he will change those ideas again ; not for the 
world, but for the saloons of Paris, for its journals 
and its mob. 

How different are conspicuous men to different 
eyes! The city corporation of Toulouse has just 
addressed this petition to Napoleon : — 

" Monseignieur, — The government of the world by Provi- 
dence is the most perfect. France and Europe style you the 
elect of God for the accomplishment of his designs. It belongs 
to no Constitution whatever to assign a term for the divine mission 
with which you are intrusted. Inspire yourself with this thought, 
— to restore to the country those tutelar institutions, which form 
the stability of power and the dignity of nations." 

That is a prayer addressed to the Prince President 
of France, whose private vices are equalled only by 
his public sins. How different he looks to different 
men ! To me he is Napoleon the Little ; to the 
Mayor and Aldermen of Toulouse, he is the Elect 
of God, with irresponsible power to rale as long and 
as badly as likes him best. Well said Sir Philip 
Sidney, " Spite of the ancients, there is not a piece 



156 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



of wood in the world out of which a Mercury may 
not be made." 

It is this importance of great men which has led 
me to speak of them so often; not only of men 
great by nature, but great by position on money or 
office, or by reputation ; men substantially great, and 
men great by accident. Hence I spoke of Dr. Chan- 
ning, whose word went like morning over the conti- 
nents. Hence I spoke of John Quincy Adams, and 
did not fear to point out every error I thought I dis- 
covered in the great man's track, which ended so 
proudly in the right; and I did homage to all the 
excellence I found, though it was the most unpopu- 
lar excellence. Hence I spoke of General Taylor ; 
yes, even of General Harrison, a very ordinary man, 
but available, and accidentally in a great station. 

You see why this ought to be done. We are a 
young nation ; a great man easily gives us the im- 
pression of his hand; we shall harden in the fire of 
centuries, and keep the mark. Stamp a letter on 
Chaldean clay, and how very frail it seems ! but 
burn that clay in the fire, — and, though Nineveh 
shall perish, and Babylon become a heap of ruins, 
that brick keeps the arrow-headed letter to this day. 
As with bricks, so with nations. 

Ere long, these three and twenty millions will be- 
come a hundred millions ; then perhaps a thousand 
millions, spread over all the continent, from the 
Arctic to the Antarctic Sea. It is a good thing to 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



157 



start with men of great religion for our guides. The 
difference between a Moses and a Maximian will be 
felt by many millions of men, and for many an age, 
after death has effaced both from the earth. The 
dead hand of Moses yet circumcises every Hebrew 
boy ; that of mediaeval doctors of divinity still 
clutches the clergyman by the throat ; the dead 
barons of Runnymede even now keep watch, and 
vindicate for us all a trial by the law of the land, 
administered by our peers. 

A man of eminent abilities may do one of two 
things in influencing men. 

L Either he may extend himself at right angles 
with the axis of the human march, lateralize himself, 
spreading widely, and have a great power in his 
own age, putting his opinion into men's heads, his 
will into their action, and yet never reach far onward 
into the future. In America, he will gain power in 
his time, by having the common sentiments and 
ideas, and an extraordinary power to express and 
show their value ; great power of comprehension, of 
statement, and of will. Such a man differs from 
others in quantity, not quality. Where all men 
have considerable, he has a great deal. His power 
may be represented by two parallel lines, the one be- 
ginning where his influence begins, the other where 
his influence ends. His power will be measured by 
the length of the lines laterally, and the distance 
betwixt the parallels. That is one thing. 

vol. i. 14 



158 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



Or a great man may extend himself forward, in 
the line of the human march, himself a prolongation 
of the axis of mankind : not reaching far sideways 
in his own time, he reaches forward immensely, his 
influence widening as it goes. He will do this by 
superiority in sentiments, ideas, and actions ; by 
eminence of justice and of affection ; by eminence 
of religion : he will differ in quality as well as 
quantity, and have much where the crowd has 
nothing at all. His pow T er also may be represented 
by two lines, both beginning at his birth, pointing 
forwards, diverging from a point, reaching far into 
the future, widening as they extend, comprehending 
time by their stretch, and space by their spread. 
Jesus of Nazareth was of this class : he spread 
laterally in his lifetime, and took in twelve Galilean 
peasants and a few obscure women ; now his diverg- 
ing lines reach over tw T o thousand years in their 
stretch, and contain two hundred and sixty millions 
of men within their spread. 

So much, my friends, and so long, as preface to 
this estimate of a great man. 

Daniel Webster w T as a man of eminent abili- 
ties : for many years the favored son of New Eng- 
land. He was seventy years old ; nearly forty years 
in the councils of the nation ; held high office in 
times of peril and doubt ; had a commanding elo- 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



159 



quence — there were two million readers for every 
speech he spoke ; and for the last two years he has 
had a vast influence on the opinion of the North. 
He has done service ; spoken noble words that will 
endure so long as English lasts. He has largely 
held the nation's eye. His public office made his 
personal character conspicuous. Great men have no 
privacy ; their bed and their board are both spread 
in front of the sun, and their private character is a 
public force. Let us see what he did, and what he 
was ; what is the result for the present, what for the 
future. 

Daniel Webster was born at Salisbury, N. H., on 
the borders of civilization, on the 18th of January, 
1782. He was the son of Capt. Ebenezer and Abi- 
gail (Eastman) Webster. 

The mother of Capt. Webster was a Miss Bach- 
elder, of Hampton, where Thomas Webster, the 
American founder of the family, settled in 1636. 
She was descended from the Rev. Stephen Bachiller, 
formerly of Lynn in Massachusetts, a noted man in 
his time, unjustly, or otherwise, driven out of the 
colony by the Puritans. Ebenezer Webster^ in his 
early days, lived as " boy " in the service of Col. 
Ebenezer Stevens, of Kingston, from whom he re- 
ceived a " lot of land " in Stevenstown, now Salis- 
bury. In 1764, Mr. Webster built himself a log- 
cabin on the premises, and lighted his fire. His land 



160 



DAXIEL WEBSTER. 



l - lapped on " to the wilderness ; no Xew Englander 
living so near The Xorth Star, it is said. The family 
was any thing but rich, living first in a log-cabin, 
then in a frame-house, and some time keeping 
tavern. 

The father was a soldier in the French war, and 
in the Revolution ; a great, brave, big, brawny man ; 
" high-breasted and broad-shouldered ; " " with heavy 
eyebrows," and K a heart which he seemed to have 
borrowed from a lion ; " "a dark man," so black 
that you could not tell when his face was covered 
with gunpowder ; " six feet high, and both in look 
and manners " uncommon rough." He was a shifty 
man of many functions, — a farmer, a saw-miller, 
u something of a blacksmith," a captain in the early 
part of the Revolutionary War, a colonel of militia, 
representative and senator in the Xew Hampshire 
legislature, and finally Judge of the Court of Com- 
mon Pleas ; yet k; he never saw the inside of a 
school-house." In his early married life, food some- 
times failed on the rough farm : then the stout man 
and his neighbors took to the woods, and brought 
home many a fat buck in their day. 

The mother, one of the " black Eastmans," was a 
quite superior woman. It is often so. When virtue 
leaps high in the public fountain, you seek for the 
lofty spring of nobleness, and find it far off in the 
dear breast of some mother, who melted the snows 
of winter, and condensed the summer's dew into 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



161 



fair, sweet humanity, which now gladdens the face 
of man in all the city streets. Bulk is bearded and 
masculine ; niceness is of woman's gendering. 

Daniel Webster was fortunate in the outward cir- 
cumstances of his birth and breeding. He carne 
from that class in society whence almost all the great 
men of America have corne. — the two Adamses, 
Washington, Hancock, Jefferson, Jackson, Clay, and 
almost every living notable of our time. New 
Hampshire herself has furnished a large number of 
self-reliant and able-headed men, who have fought 
their way in the world with their own fist, and won 
eminent stations at the last. The little, rough State 
breeds professors and senators, merchants and hardy 
lawyers, in singular profusion. Our Hercules was 
also cradled on the ground. When he visited the 
West, a few years ago, an emigrant from New 
Hampshire met him in Ohio, recognized him. and 
asked, ' ; Is this the son of Capt. Webster ? " - It is, 
indeed," said the great man. M What ! said he. M is 
this the little black Dan that used to water the 
horses ? " And the great Daniel Webster said. K It 
is the little black Dan that used to water the horses." 
He was proud of his history. If a man finds the 
way alone, should he not be proud of having found 
the way, and got out of the woods ? 

He had small opportunities for academical educa- 
tion. The schoolmaster was u abroad " in New 
Hampshire ; and was seldom at home in Salisbury. 
14* 



162 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



Only two or three months in the year was there a 
school ; often only a movable school, that ark of the 
Lord, shifting from place to place. Sometimes it 
was two or three miles from Capt. Webster's. 
Once it was stationary in a log-house. Thither went 
Daniel Webster, " carrying his dinner in a tin pail," 
a brave, bright boy. "The child is father of the 
man." The common-school of America is the cradle 
of all her greatness. How many Presidents has she 
therein rocked to vigorous manhood ! But Mr. 
Webster's school-time was much interrupted : there 
were "chores to be done" at home, — the saw-mill 
to be tended in winter ; in summer, Daniel " must 
ride horse to plough ; " and in planting-time, and 
hay-time, and harvest, have many a day stolen from 
his scanty seed-time of learning. In his father's 
tavern -barn, the future Secretary gave a rough curry- 
ing, "after the fashion of the times," to the sorry 
horse of many a traveller, and in the yard of the inn 
yoked the oxen of many a New Hampshire teamster. 

" Cast the bantling on the rocks." 

When fourteen years old, he went to Phillips 
Academy * at Exeter for a few months, riding thither 



* At the commemoration of Mr. Abbott's fiftieth anniversary as 
Preceptor of Phillips Academy, a time when " English was of no 
more account at Exeter than silver at Jerusalem in the days of 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



163 



on the same horse with his father; then to study 
with Rev. Mr. Wood at Boscawen, paying a " dollar 
a week" for the food of the body and the food of the 
mind. In the warm weather, " Daniel went bare- 
foot, and wore tow trousers and a tow shirt, his 
only garments at that season," spun, woven, and 
made up by his diligent mother. "He helped do 
the things" about Mr. Wood's barn and woodpile, 
and so diminished the pecuniary burden of his 
father. But Mr. W^ood had small Latin and less 
Greek, and only taught what he knew. Daniel was 
an ambitious boy, and apt to learn. Men wonder 
that some men can do so much with so little out- 
ward furniture. The wonder is the other way. He 
was more college than the college itself, and had a 
university in his head. It takes time, and the sweat 
of oxen, and the shouting of drivers, goading and 
whipping, to get a cart-load of cider to the top of 
Mount Washington ; but the eagle flies there on his 
own wide wings, and asks no help. Daniel Webster 
had little academic furniture to help him. He had 
the mountains of New Hampshire, and his own 
great mountain of a head. Was that a bad outfit ? 
No millionaire can buy it for a booby-son. 



King Solomon," Mr. Abbott sat between Air. Webster and Mr. 
Everett, both of them his former pupils. Air. John P. Hale, in his 
neat speech, said, "If you had done nothing else but instruct these 
two, you might say, Exegi moxumextum ^ee perexxius." 



164 



DAXIEL WEBSTER. 



There was a British sailor, with a w T ife but no 
child, an old " man-of-war's-man " living hard by 
Capt. Webster's, fond of fishing and hunting, of 
hearing the newspapers read, and of telling his 
stories to all comers. He had considerable influ- 
ence on the young boy, and never w^ore out of his 
memory. 

There was a small social library at Salisbury, 
whence a bright boy could easily draw the water of 
life for his intellect ; at home was the Farmers' Al- 
manac, with its riddles and " poetry," Watts's 
Hymns and the Bible, the inseparable companion of 
the New England man. Daniel was fond of poetry, 
and, before he was ten years old, knew dear old Isaac 
Watts all by heart. He thought all books were to 
be got by heart. I said he loved to learn. One day 
his father said to him, " I shall send you to college, 
Daniel;" and Daniel laid his head on his father's 
shoulder, and wept right out. In reading and spell- 
ing he surpassed his teacher ; but his hard hands did 
not take kindly to writing, and the schoolmaster told 
him his "fingers were destined to the plough-tail." 

He was not a strong boy, was " a crying baby " 
that worried his mother ; but a neighbor " prophe- 
sied," " You will take great comfort in him one 
day ! " As he grew T up, he was " the slimmest of 
the family," a farmer's youngest boy, and " not good 
for much." He did not love work. It w'as these 
peculiarities which decided Capt. Webster to send 
Daniel to college. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



165 



The time came for him to go to college. His 
father once carried him to Dartmouth in a wagon. 
On the way thither, they passed a spot which Capt. 
Webster remembered right well. " Once when you 
were a little baby," said he, " in the winter we were 
out of provisions, I went into the woods with the 
gun to find something to eat. In that spot yonder, 
then all covered with woods, I found a herd of 
deer. The snow was very deep, and they had made 
themselves a pen, and were crowded together in 
great numbers. As they could not get out, I took 
my choice, and picked out a fine, fat stag. I walked 
round and looked at him, with my knife in my hand. 
As I looked the noble fellow in the face, the great 
tears rolled down his cheeks, and I could not touch 
him. But I thought of you, Daniel, and your 
mother, and the rest of the little ones, and carried 
home the deer." 

He can hardly be said to have " entered college : " 
he only " broke in," so slenderly was he furnished 
with elementary knowledge. This deficiency of ele- 
mentary instruction in the classic tongues and in 
mathematics was a sad misfortune in his later life 
which he never outgrew. 

At college, like so many other New Hampshire 
boys, he " paid his own way," keeping school in the 
vacation. One year he paid his board by " doing 
the literature " for a weekly newspaper. He gradu- 
ated at Dartmouth in his twentieth year, largely dis- 



166 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



tinguished, for power as a writer and speaker, though 
not much honored by the college authorities ; so he 
scorned his degree ; and, when the faculty gave him 
their diploma, he tore it to pieces in the college-yard, 
in presence of some of his mates, it is said, and trod 
it underfoot. 

When he graduated, he was apparently of a feeble 
constitution, " long, slender, pale, and all eyes," with 
" teeth as white as a hound's ; " thick, black hair 
clustered about his ample forehead. At first he 
designed to study theology, but his father's better 
judgment overruled the thought. 

After graduating, he continued to fight for his 
education, studying law with one hand, keeping 
school with the other, and yet finding a third hand 
— this Yankee Briareus — to serve as Register of 
Deeds. This he did at Fryeburg in Maine, borrow- 
ing a copy of Blackstone's Commentaries, which he 
was too poor to buy. In a long winter evening, by 
copying two deeds, he could earn fifty cents. He 
used his money, thus severely earned, to help his 
older brother, Ezekiel, " Black Zeke," as he was 
called, to college. Both were " heinously unpro- 
vided." 

Then he came to Boston, with no letters of intro- 
duction, raw, awkward, and shabby in his dress, with 
cowhide shoes, blue yarn stockings "coarsely ribbed," 
his rough trousers ceasing a long distance above his 
feet. He sought admittance as a clerk to more than 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



167 



one office before he found a place ; an eminent law- 
yer, rudely turning him off, " would not have such a 
fellow in the office ! " Mr. Gore, a man of large 
reputation, took in the unprotected youth, who 
"came to work, not to play." Here he struggled 
with poverty and the law. Ezekiel, not yet gradu- 
ated, came also and took a school in Short street. 
Daniel helped his brother in the school. Edward 
Everett was one of the pupils, a " marvellous boy," 
with no equal, it was thought, in all Ne'w England, 
making the promise scholarly he has since fulfilled. 

Mr. Webster was admitted to the bar in 1805, with 
a prophecy of eminence from Mr. Gore, — a proph- 
ecy which might easily be made : such a head was 
its own fortune-teller. His legal studies over, re- 
fusing a lucrative office, he settled down as a lawyer 
at Boscawen, in New Hampshire. Thence went to 
Portsmouth in 1807, a lawyer of large talents, get- 
ting rapidly into practice ; " known all over the State 
of New Hampshire," known also in Massachusetts. 
He attended to literature, wrote papers in the 
Monthly Anthology, a periodical published in the 
" Athens of America " — so Boston was then called. 
He printed a rhymed version of some of the odes of 
Horace, and wrote largely for the " Portsmouth 
Oracle." 

In 1808 he married Miss Grace Fletcher, an at- 
tractive and beautiful woman, one year older than 
himself, the daughter of the worthy minister of Hop- 



168 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



kinton, N. H. By this marriage he was the father 
of two daughters and two sons. But, alas for him ! 
this amiable and beloved woman ceased to be mortal 
in 1828. 

In 1812, when thirty years of age, he was elected 
to Congress, — to the House of Representatives. In 
1814 his house was burned, — a great loss to the 
young man, never thrifty, and then struggling for an 
estate. He determined to quit New Hampshire, and 
seek a place in some more congenial spot. New 
Hampshire breeds great lawyers, but not great for- 
tunes. He hesitated for a \vbile between Boston 
and Albany. " He doubted ; " so he wrote to a 
friend, if he " could make a living in Boston." But 
he concluded to try ; and in 1816 he removed to 
Boston, in the State which had required his ances- 
tor, Rev. Stephen Bachiller, "to forbare exercising 
his gifts as a pastor or teacher publiquely in the 
Pattent," "for his contempt of authority, and till 
some scandles be removed." * 

In 1820, then thirty-eight years old, he is a mem- 
ber of the Massachusetts Convention, and is one of 
the leading members there ; provoking the jealousy, 
but at the same time distancing the rivalry, of young 
men Boston born and Cambridge bred. His light, 
taken from under the New Hampshire bushel at 



* MS. Kecords of Mass. General Court, Oct. 3, 1632. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



169 



Portsmouth, could not be hid in Boston. It gives 
light to all that enter the house. In 1822 he was 
elected to Congress from Boston ; in 1827, to the 
Senate of the United States. In 1841 he was Sec- 
retary of State ; again a private citizen in 1843 : in 
the Senate in 1845. and Secretary of State in 1850, 
where he continued, until. " on the 24th of October, 
1852, all that was mortal of Daniel Webster was no 
more ! " 

He was ten days in the General Court of Massa- 
chusetts ; a few weeks in her Convention : eight 
vears Representative in Congress ; nineteen. Sen- 
ator ; five, Secretary of State. Such is a condensed 
map of his outward history. 

Look next at the Headlands of his life. Here I 
shall speak of his deeds and words as a citizen and 
public officer. 

He was a great lawyer, engaged in many of the 
most important cases during the last forty years : 
but, in the briefness of a sermon, I must pass by his 
labors in the law. 

I know that much of his present reputation de- 
pends qii his achievements as a lawyer : as an " ex- 
pounder of the Constitution/' Unfortunately, it is 
not possible for me to say how much credit belongs 
to Mr. Webster for his constitutional arguments, and 
how much to the late Judge Story. The publication 

VOL. I. 15 



170 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



of the correspondence between these gentlemen w T ill 
perhaps help settle the matter; but still much exact 
legal information w^as often given by word of mouth, 
during personal interviews, and that must for ever 
remain hidden from all but him who gave and him 
who took. However, from 1816 to 1842, Mr. Web- 
ster was in the habit of drawing from that deep and 
copious w^ell of legal knowledge, whenever his own 
bucket was dry. ]\Ir. Justice Story was the Jupiter 
Pluvius from whom Mr. Webster often sought to 
elicit peculiar thunder for his speeches, and private 
rain for his own public tanks of law. The states- 
man got the lawyer to draft bills, to make sugges- 
tions, to furnish facts, precedents, law, and ideas. 
He went on this aquilician business, asking aid, now 
in a " bankruptcy bill," in 1816 and 1825 ; then in 
questions of law of nations, in 1827 ; next in mat- 
ters of criminal law in 1830 ; then of constitutional 
law in 1832 ; then in relation to the North-eastern 
boundary in 1838 ; in matters of international law 
again, in his negotiations with Lord Ashburton, in 
1842. " You can do more for me than all the rest 
of the world," wrote the Secretary of State, April 
9th, 1842, " because you can give me the lights I 
most want; and, if you furnish them, I shall be con- 
fident that they will be true lights. I shall trouble 
you greatly the next three months." And again, 
July 16th, 1842, he writes, "Nobody but yourself can 
do this." But, alas ! in his later years the beneficiary 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



171 



sought to conceal the source of his supplies. Jupiter 
Pluvius had himself been summoned before the court 
of the Higher Law. 

Much of Mr. Webster's fame as a Constitutional 
lawyer rests on his celebrated argument in the Dart- 
mouth College case. But it is easy to see that the 
facts, the law, the precedents, the ideas, and the con- 
clusions of that argument, had almost all of them 
been presented by Messrs. Mason and Smith in the 
previous trial of the case.* 

Let me speak of the public acts of Mr. Webster in 
his capacity as a private citizen. Here I shall speak 
of him chiefly as a Public Orator. 

Two juvenile orations of his are still preserved, 
delivered while he was yet a lad in college. f One is 



* See the Report of the Case of the Trustees of Dartmouth 
College, etc. Portsmouth, X. H. [1819.] 

f " An Oration pronounced at Hanover. X. H., the 4th day of 
July, 1800, being the Twenty-fourth Anniversary of Indepen- 
dence, by Daniel Webster, member of the Junior Class, Dartmouth 
University. 

*' Do thou, great Liberty, inspire our souls, 
And make our lives in thy possession happy, 
Or our deaths glorious in thy just defence," etc. 

"Hanover, 1800." 8vo. pp. 15. 
" Funeral Oration, occasioned by the Death of Ephraim Si- 
monds, of Templeton, Mass., a Member of the Senior Class in 
Dartmouth College, who died at Hanover (X. H.), on the 18th of 
June, 1801, set. 26. By Daniel Webster, a class-mate of the de- 



172 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



a Fourth-of-July oration, — a performance good 
enough for a lad of eighteen, but hardly indicating 
the talents of its author. The sentiments probably 
belong to the neighborhood, and the diction to the 
authorities of the college : — 

" Fair Science, too, holds her gentle empire amongst us, and 
almost innumerable altars are raised to her divinity from Bruns- 
wick to Florida. Yale, Providence, and Harvard now grace our 
land; and Dartmouth, towering majestic above the groves 
which encircle her, now inscribes her glory on the registers of 
fame ! Oxford and Cambridge, those oriential stars of literature, 
shall now be lost, while the bright sun of American science dis- 
plays his broad circumference in uneclipsed radiance." — p. 10. 

Here is an opinion which he seems to have enter- 
tained at the end of his life. He speaks of the for- 
mation of the Constitution: — 

" We then saw the people of these States engaged in a transac- 
tion, which is undoubtedly the greatest approximation towards 
human perfection the political world ever yet experienced ; and 
which will perhaps for ever stand, in the history of mankind, with- 
out a parallel." — p. 8, 9. 

In 1806, he delivered another Fourth-of-July ad- 
dress at Concord, N. H.,* containing many noble and 
generous opinions : — 



ceased. Et vix senliunt dicere lingua. Vale. Hanover, 1801." 
8vo. pp. 13. 

* " An Anniversary Address, delivered before the Federal 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



173 



" Patriotism," said he, " hath a source of consolation that cheers 
the heart in these unhappy times, when good men are rendered 
odious, and bad men popular ; when great men are made little, 
and little men are made great. A genuine patriot, above the 
reach of personal considerations, with his eye and his heart on 
the honor and the happiness of his country, is a character as easy 
and as satisfactory to himself as venerable in the eyes of the world. 
While his country enjoys freedom and peace, he will rejoice and 
be thankful ; and, if it be in the councils of Heaven to send the 
storm and the tempest, he meets the tumult of the political 
elements with composure and dignity. Above fear, above danger, 
above reproach, he feels that the last end which can happen to 
any man never comes too soon, if he fall in defence of the law 
and the liberty of his country." — p. 21. 

In 1812, he delivered a third Fourth-of-July ad- 
dress at Portsmouth.* The political storm is felt in 
the little harbor of Portsmouth, and the speaker 
swells with the tumult of the sea. He is hostile to 
France ; averse to the war with England, then 
waging, yet ready to fight and pay taxes for it. He 
wants a navy. He comes " to take counsel of the 
dead," with whom he finds an " infallible criterion." 
But, alas ! " dead men tell no tales," and give no 



Gentlemen of Concord and its Vicinity, July 4, 1806. By Daniel 
Webster. Concord, N. H., 1806." 8vo. pp. 21. 

* " An Address delivered before the Washington Benevolent 
Society at Portsmouth, July 4, 1812. By Daniel Webster. 
Portsmouth, N. H." 8vo. pp. 27. He delivered also other Fourth- 
of-July addresses, which I have not seen. 

15* 



174 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



counsel. There was then no witch at Portsmouth to 
bring up Washington quickly. 

His subsequent deference to the money-power be- 
gins to appear: "The Federal Constitution was 
adopted for no single reason so much as for the 
protection of commerce." " Commerce has paid the 
price of independence." It has been committed to 
the care of the general government, but " not as a 
convict to the safe-keeping of a jailor," "not for close 
confinement." He wants a navy to protect it. Such 
were the opinions of Federalists around him. 

But these speeches of his youth and early man- 
hood were but commonplace productions. In his 
capacity as public orator, in the vigorous period of 
his faculties, he made three celebrated speeches, not 
at all political, — at Plymouth Rock, to celebrate the 
two hundredth anniversary of New England's birth ; 
at Bunker Hill, in memory of the chief battle of New 
England ; and at Faneuil Hall, to honor the two 
great men who died when the nation was fifty years 
old, and they fourscore. Each of these orations was 
a great and noble effort of patriotic eloquence. 

Standing on Plymouth Rock, with the graves of 
:the forefathers around him, how proudly could he 
say : — 

" Our ancestors established their system of government on 
morality and religious sentiment. Moral habits, they believed, 
•eannot safely be trusted on any other foundation than religious 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



175 



principle, nor any government be secure which is not supported 
by moral habits. Living under the heavenly light of revelation, 
they hoped to find all the social dispositions, all the duties which 
men owe to each other and to society-, enforced and performed. 
Whatever makes men good Christians makes them good citizens. 
Our fathers came here to enjoy their religion free and unmo- 
lested ; and, at the end of two centuries, there is nothing upon 
which we can pronounce more confidently, nothing of which we 
can express a more deep and earnest conviction, than of the in- 
estimable importance of that religion to man, both in regard to 
this life and that which is to come." 

At Bunker Hill, there were before him the men of 
the Revolution. — venerable men who drew swords 
at Lexington and Concord, and faced the fight in 
many a fray. There was the French nobleman. — 
would to God that France had many such to-day! 

— who perilled his fortune, life, and reputation, for 
freedom in America, and never sheathed the sword 
he drew at Yorktown till France also was a republic, 

— Fayette was there : the Favette of two revolu- 
tions ; the Fayette of Yorktown and Olmutz. How 
well could he say : — 

" Let our conceptions be enlarged to the circle of our duties. 
Let us extend our ideas over the whole of the vast field in which 
we are called to act. Let our object be, our country, our 

WHOLE COUNTRY, AND NOTHING BUT OUR COUNTRY. And, by 

the blessing of God, may that country itself become a vast and 
splendid monument, not of oppression and terror, but of wisdom, 
of peace, and of liberty, upon which the world may gaze with ad- 
miration for ever ! " 



176 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



On another occasion, he stood at the grave of two 
great men, who. in the time that tried men's souls, 
were of the earliest to peril " their lives, their for- 
tunes, and their sacred honor." — men who, having 
been one in the Declaration of Independence, were 
again made one in death ; for then the people re- 
turned to the cradle wherein the elder Adams and 
Hancock had rocked Libertv when young : and 
Webster chaunted the psalm of commemoration to 
Adams and Jefferson, who had helped that new-born 
child to walk. He brought before the living the 
mighty dead. In his words they fought their battles 
o'er again ; we heard them resolve, that, " sink or 
swim, live or die, survive or perish," they gave their 
hand and their heart for liberty; and Adams and 
Jefferson grew greater before the eyes of the people, 
as he brought them up, and showed the massive 
services of those men, and pointed out the huge 
structure of that human fabric which had gone to 
the grave : — 

" Adams and Jefferson, I have said, are no more. As human 
beings, indeed, they are no more. They are no more, as in 1 776, 
bold and fearless advocates of independence ; no more, as at sub- 
sequent periods, the head of the government ; no more, as we 
have recently seen them, aged and venerable objects of admira- 
tion and regard. They are no more. They are dead. But how 
little is there of the great and good which can die ! To their 
country they yet live, and live for ever. They live in all that 
perpetuates the remembrance of men on earth ; in the recorded 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



177 



proofs of their own great actions, in the offspring of their intel- 
lect, in the deep-engraved lines of public gratitude, and in the 
respect and homage of mankind. They live in their example ; 
and they live, emphatically, and will live, in the influence which 
their lives and efforts, their principles and opinions, now exercise, 
and will continue to exercise, on the affairs of men, not only in 
their own country, but throughout the civilized world." 

How loftily did he say : — 

" If we cherish the virtues and the principles of our fathers, 
Heaven will assist us to carry on the work of human liberty and 
human happiness. Auspicious omens cheer us. Great examples 
are before us. Our own firmament now shines brightly upon our 
path. Washington is in the clear, upper sky. These other stars 
have now joined the American constellation. They circle round 
their centre, and the heavens beam with new light Beneath this 
illumination let us walk the course of life, and, at its close, de- 
voutly commend our beloved country, the common parent of us 
all, to the Divine Benignity." 

As a political officer, I shall speak of him as a 
Legislator and Executor of the law, a maker and 
administrator of laws. 

In November, 1812, Mr. Webster was chosen as 
Representative to the Thirteenth Congress. At that 
time the country was at war with Great Britain ; and 
the well-known restraints still fettered the commerce 
of the country. The people were divided into two 
great parties, — the Federalists, who opposed the 
embargo and the war; and the Democrats, who 



178 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



favored both. Mr. Madison, then President, had 
been forced into the war, contrary to his own con- 
victions of expediency and of right. The most bitter 
hatred prevailed between the two parties : " party 
politics were inexpressibly violent." An eminent 
lawyer of Salem, afterwards one of the most dis- 
tinguished jurists in the world, a Democrat,* was, on 
account of his political opinions, knocked down in 
the street, beaten, and forced to take shelter in the 
house of a friend, whither he fled, bleeding, and 
covered with the mud of the streets. Political ran- 
cor invaded private life ; it occupied the pulpit ; it 
blinded men's eyes to a degree almost exceeding be- 
lief : were it not now again a fact, we should not 
believe it possible at a former time. 

Mr. Webster was a Federalist, earnest and de- 
voted, with the convictions of a Federalist, and the 
prejudices and the blindness of a Federalist ; and, of 
course, hated by men who had the convictions of a 
Democrat, and the prejudices and blindness thereof. 
It is difficult to understand the wilfulness of 
thorough partisans. In New Hampshire the Judges 
were Democrats ; the Federalists, having a majority 
in the Legislature, wished to be rid of them, and, for 
that purpose, abolished all the Courts in the State, 
and appointed others in their place (1813). I men- 
tion this only to show the temper of the times. 



* Joseph Story. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



179 



There was no great principle of political morals 
on which the two parties differed, only on measures 
of expediency. The Federalists demanded freedom 
of the seas and protection for commerce ; but they 
repeatedly, solemnly, and officially scorned to extend 
this protection to sailors. They justly complained 
of the embargo that kept their ships from the sea, 
but found little fault with the British for impressing 
sailors from American ships. The Democrats pro- 
fessed the greatest regard for " sailors' rights ; " but, 
in 1814, the government forbade its officers to grant 
protection to " colored sailors," though Massachu- 
setts alone, had more than a thousand able seamen 
of that class ! A leading Federal organ, said, — 
" The Union is dear ; Commerce is still more dear." 
" The Eastern States agreed to the Union for the 
sake of their Commerce." * 

With the Federalists there was a great veneration 
for England. Mr. Fisher Ames, said, — " The im- 
mortal spirit of the wood-nymph Liberty dwells only 
in the British oak." " Our country," quoth he, " is 
too big for union, too sordid for patriotism, and too 
democratic for liberty." " England," said another, 
" is the bulwark of our religion," and the " shield of 
afflicted humanity." A Federalist newspaper at 
Boston censured Americans as " enemies of Eng- 
land and monarchy," and accused the Democrats of 



* "Columbian Centinel" for July 25th, 1812. 



ISO 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



" antipathy to kingly power.'' Did Democrats com- 
plain that our prisoners were ill-treated by the Brit- 
ish, it was declared " foolish and wicked to throw 
the blame on the British government ! " Americans 
expressed indignation at the British outrages at 
Hampton. — burning houses and violating the wo- 
men. The Federal newspapers said, it is " impossi- 
ble that their (the British) military or naval men 
should be other than magnanimous and humane." 
Mr. Clay accused the Federalists of " plots that aim 
at the dismemberment of the Union," and denounced 
the party as " conspirators against the integrity of 
the nation." 

In general, the Federalists maintained that Eng- 
land had a right to visit American vessels to search 
for and take her own subjects, if found there ; and, 
if she sometimes took an American citizen, that was 
only an " incidental evil." Great Britain, said the 
Massachusetts Legislature, has done us " no essen- 
tial injury : " she " was fighting the battles of the 
world." They denied that she had impressed " any 
considerable number of American seamen." Such 
was the language of Mr. Webster and the party he 
served. But even at that time the " Edinburgh 
Review " declared, u Every American seaman might 
be said to hold his liberty, and ultimately his life, at 
the discretion of a foreign commander. In many 
cases, accordingly, native-born Americans w T ere 
dragged on board British ships of war : they w r ere 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



181 



dispersed in the remotest quarters of the globe, and 
not only exposed to the perils of service, but shut 
out by their situation from all hope of ever being 
reclaimed. The right of reclaiming runaway seamen 
was exercised, in short, wdthout either moderation or 
justice." 

Over six thousand cases of impressment were re- 
corded in the American Department of State. In 
Parliament, Lord Castlereagh admitted that there 
were three thousand five hundred men in the British 
fleet claiming to be American citizens, and sixteen 
hundred of them actually citizens. At the begin- 
ning of the w 7 af, two thousand five hundred Ameri- 
can citizens, impressed into the British navy, refused 
to fight against their native land, and were shut up 
in Dartmoor prison. When the Guerriere w T as cap- 
tured, there were ten American sailors on board who 
refused to fight. In Parliament, in 1808, Mr. Baring 
(Lord Ashburton) defended the rights of Americans 
against the British orders in council, while in 1812 
and 1813 the Federalists could "not find out the 
cases of impressment " ; — such w r as the influence of 
party spirit. 

The party out of power is commonly the friend of 
freedom. The Supreme Court of Massachusetts 
declared that unconstitutional acts of Congress were 
void; the Legislature declared it the duty of the 
State Courts to prevent usurped and unconstitu- 
tional powers from being exercised : " It is the duty 

vol. u 16 



182 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



of the present generation to stand between the next 
and despotism ; " " Whenever the national compact 
is violated, and the citizens of this State oppressed 
by cruel and unauthorized enactments, this Legisla- 
ture is bound to interpose its power to wrest from 
the oppressor his victim." 

After the Federal party had taken strong ground, 
Mr. Webster opposed the administration, opposed 
the war, took the part of England in the matter of 
impressment. He drew up the Brentwood Memo- 
rial, once so famous all over New England, now for- 
gotten and faded out of all men's memory.* 

On the 24th of May, 1813, Mr. Webster first took 
his seat in the House of Representatives, at the extra 
session of the thirteenth Congress. He was a mem- 
ber of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and indus- 
triously opposed the administration. In the three 
sessions of this Congress, he closely followed the 
leaders of the Federal party ; voting with Mr. Pick- 
ering a hundred and ninety-one times, and against 
him only four times, in the two years. Sometimes 
he " avoided the question ; " but voted against thank- 
ing Commodore Perry for his gallant conduct, against 
the purchase of Mr. Jefferson's library, against naval 
supplies, direct taxes, and internal duties. 

He opposed the government scheme of a National 



* I purposely pass over other political writings and speeches 
of his. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



183 



Bank* No adequate reports of his speeches against 
the war f are preserved ; but, to judge from the testi- 
mony of an eminent man, J they contained prophetic 
indications of that oratorical power which was one 
day so mightily to thunder and lighten in the nation's 
eyes. Yet his influence in Congress does not appear 
to have been great. In later years he defended the 
United States Bank ; but that question, like others, 
had then become a party question ; and a horse in 
the party-team must go on with his fellows, or be 
flayed by the driver 's lash. 

But though his labors were not followed by any 
very marked influence at Washington, at home he 
drew on himself the wrath of the Democratic party. 
Mr. Isaac Hill, the editor of the leading Democratic 
paper in New Hampshire, pursued him with intense 
personal hatred. He sneeringly says, and falsely, 
" The great Mr. Webster, so extremely flippant in 
arguing petty suits in the courts of law, cuts but a 
sorry figure at Washington : his overweening con- 
fidence and zeal cannot there supply the place of 
knowledge." § 

He was sneeringly called the " great," the " elo- 
quent," the "preeminent" Daniel Webster. His 

* Speech in the House of Representatives, January 2, 1815. 
Works, vol. iii. p. 35, et seq. 

f See his Speech in House of Representatives, January 14, 
1814, on the Army Bill. Alexandria, 1814. 8vo. pp. 14. 

t Mr. Story. 

§ " New Hampshire Patriot " of July 27, 1813. 



184 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



deeds, his words, his silence, all were represented as 
coming from the basest motives, and serving the 
meanest ends. His Journal at Portsmouth was 
called the " lying Oracle." Listen to this : " Mr. 
Webster spoke much and often when he was in 
Congress ; and, if he had studied the Wisdom of 
Solomon (as some of his colleagues probably did), 
he would have discovered that a fool is knoicn by his 
much speaking." 

Mr. Webster, in common with his party, refused 
to take part in the war. " I honor," said he, " the 
people that shrink from such a contest as this. T 
applaud their sentiments : they are such as religion 
and humanity dictate, and such as none but can- 
nibals would wish to eradicate from the human 
heart." Whereupon the editor asks, Will not the 
federal soldiers call the man who made* the speech 
" a cold-blooded wretch, whose heart is callous to 
every patriotic feeling ? " * and then, " We do not 
wonder at Mr. Webster's reluctance again to appear 
at the city of Washington " (he was attending cases 
at court) : " even his native brass must be abashed 
at his own conduct, at his own speeches." f Flattery 
" has spoiled him ; for application might have made 
him something a dozen years hence. It has given 
him confidence, a face of brass, which and his native 



*"New Hampshire Patriot," August 27, 1814. 
f Id., October 4, 1814. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



185 



volubility are mistaken for ' preeminent talent.' Of 
all men in the State, he is the fittest to be the tool 
of the enemy." * He was one of the men that bring 
the " nation to the verge of ruin ; " a " Thompsonian 
intriguer ; " a " Macfarland admirer ; " " The self- 
importance and gross egotism he displays are dis- 
gusting ; " " You would suppose him a great mer- 
chant, living in a maritime city, and not a man 
reared in the woods of Salisbury, or educated in the 
wilds of Hanover." f 

Before he was elected to Congress, Mr. Hill ac- 
cused him of " deliberate falsehood," of "telling bold 
untruths to justify the enormities of the enemy." f 
The cry was raised, "The Union is in danger." Mr. 
Webster was to bring about " a dissolution of the 
Union ;"§ "The few conspirators in Boston, who 
aim at the division of the Union, and the English 
Government, who support them in their rebellion, ap- 
pear to play into each other's hands with remarkable 
adroitness." The Patriot speaks of " the mad meas- 
ures of the Boston junto ; the hateful, hypocritical 
scheme of its canting, disaffected chief, and the 
audacious tone of its public prints." || The language 
of Washington was quoted against political foes ; 
his Farewell Address reprinted. Mr. Webster was 



* " New Hampshire Patriot," August 2, 1814. 

f Id., Aug. 9, 1814. t Id., Oct. 29, 1812. 

§ Id., Oct, 13, 1812. 

|| March 30, 1813, quoted from the " Baltimore Patriot" 

16* 



186 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



charged with " setting the North against the South." 
The Essex junto was accused of " a plot to destroy 
the Union," in order " to be under the glorious shelter 
of British protection."* The Federalists were a 
" British faction ; " the country members of the 
Massachusetts Legislature were "wooden mem- 
bers ; " distinguished characters were " exciting hos- 
tility against the Union ;" one of these " ought to be 
tied to the tail of a Congreve rocket, and offered up 
a burnt sacrifice." It was " moral treason " not to 
rejoice at the victories of the nation — it was not 
then " levying war." The Legislature of New Jersey 
called the acts of the Massachusetts Legislature 
"the ravings of an infuriated faction," and Gov. 
Strong a " Maniac Governor." The " Boston Patri- 
ot"! called Mr. Webster "the poor fallen Webster," 
who " curses heartily his setters on : " " the poor 
creature is confoundedly mortified." Mr. Clay, in 
Congress, could speak of " the howlings of the whole 
British pack, let loose from the Essex junto : " the 
Federalists were attempting "to familiarize the pub- 
lic mind with the horrid scheme of disunion." J And 
Isaac Hill charged the Federalists with continually 
" threatening a separation of the States ; striving to 
stir up the passions of the North against the South, 



* " Boston Patriot," No. ]. 
If Juiy 21, 1813. 

j: Speech in House of Representatives, January 8, 1813. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



1-7 



— in clear defiance of the. dying injunctions of 
Washington."* I mention these things that all may 
understand the temper of those times. 

In 1815, Mr. Webster sought for the office of At- 
torney-General of New Hampshire, but, failing there- 
of, was reelected to the House of Representatives.! 
In the fourteenth Congress, two important measures 
came up amongst others, — the Bank and the Tariff. 
Mr. Calhoun and Mr. Clay favored the establishment 
of a national bank, with a capital of §35.000,000. 
Mr. Webster opposed it by votes and words, reaf- 
firming the sound doctrines of his former speech : 
the founders of the Constitution were u hard-money 
men ; ? ' government must not receive the paper of 
banks which do not pay specie; but "the taxes 
must be paid in the legal money of the country.'* i 
Such was the doctrine of the leading Federalists of 
the time, and the practice of New England. He in- 
troduced a resolution, that all revenues of the United 
States should be paid in the legal currency of the 
nation. It met scarce any opposition, and was 
passed the same day. I think this was the greatest 
service he ever performed in relation to our national 



* "New Hampshire Patriot " for June 7, 1814. 

f See the Farmers' Monthly Visitor, vol. xii. p. 198, et seq. 
(Manchester, N. H. 1832.) 

| Speech in House of Representatives, Feb. 28, 1816 (in M Na- 
tional Intelligencer" for March 2, 1816). See also Works, vol. iii. 
p. 35, et seq. 



188 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



currency or national finance. He was himself proud 
of it in his later years.* 

The protective tariff was supported by Messrs. 
Calhoun, Clay, and Lowndes. Mr. Webster opposed 
it ; for the capitalists of the North, then deeply en- 
gaged in commerce, looked on it as hostile to their 
shipping, and talked of the " dangers of manufac- 
tories." Was it for this reason that the South, al- 
ways jealous of the Northern thrifty toil, proposed 
it? So it was alleged. f Mr. Webster declared that 
Congress has no constitutional right to levy duties 
for protection ; only for revenue ; revenue is the con- 
stitutional substance ; protection, only the accidental 
shadow. J 

In 1816, Mr. Webster removed to Boston. In 
1819, while he was a private citizen, a most impor- 
tant question came before the nation, — Shall slavery 
be extended into the Missouri Territory ? Here, too, 
Mr. Webster was on the side of freedom. § He was 
one of a committee appointed by a meeting of the 
citizens of Boston to call a general meeting of the 



♦It passed April 26, 1816. Yeas 79; nays, 35. 
f But see Mr. Calhoun's defence of his course. Life and 
Speeches. New York, 1843. p. 329. 
% Speech in House of Representatives. 

§ In Mr. Everett's Memoir prefixed to the "Works of Mr. 
Webster, no mention is made of this opposition to the Missouri 
Compromise ! , 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



189 



citizens to oppose the extension of slavery. The 
United States Marshal was chairman of the meeting. 
Mr. Webster was one of the committee to report 
resolutions at a subsequent meeting. The preamble 
said : — 

" The extirpation of slavery has never ceased to be a measure 
deeply concerning the honor and safety of the United States." 
" In whatever tends to diminish the evil of slavery, or to check 
its growth, all parts of the confederacy are alike interested." " If 
slavery is established in Missouri, then it will be burdened with 
all the mischiefs which are too well known to be the sure results 
of slavery ; an evil, which has long been deplored, would be in- 
calculably augmented ; the whole confederacy would be weakened, 
and our free institutions disgraced, by the voluntary extension of 
a practice repugnant to all the principles of a free government, 
the continuance of which in any part of our country necessity 
alone has justified." 

It was Resolved, that Congress " possesses the constitutional 
power, upon the admission of any new State created beyond the 
limits of the original territory of the United States, to make the 
prohibition of the further extension of slavery or involuntary ser- 
vitude in such new State, a condition of its admission." " It is 
just and expedient that this power should be exercised by Con- 
gress, upon the admission of all new States created beyond the 
limits of the original territory of the United States." 

In a speech, Mr. Webster " showed incontroverti- 
bly that Congress had this power; that they were 
called upon by all the principles of sound policy, 
humanity, and morality, to enact it, and, by prohibit- 



190 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



ing slavery in the new State of Missouri, oppose a 
barrier to the future progress of slavery, which else 
— and this was the last time the opportunity would 
happen to fix its limits — would roll on desolating 
the vast expanse of continent to the Pacific Ocean." * 
Mr. Webster was appointed chairman of a com- 
mittee to prepare a memorial to Congress on this 
matter.f He said : — 

" We have a strong feeling of the injustice of any toleration of 
slavery." But, " to permit it in a new country, what is it but to 
encourage that rapacity and fraud and violence, against which we 
have so long pointed the denunciations of our penal code ? What 
is it but to tarnish the proud fame of our country '? What is it 
but to throw suspicion on its good faith, and to render question- 
able all its professions of regard for the rights of humanity, and 
the liberties of mankind ? " — p. 21. 

At that time, such was the general opinion of the 
Northern men. J A writer in the leading journal of 



* Account of a Meeting at the State House in Boston, Dec. 3, 
1819, to consider the Extension of Slavery by the United States 
(in " Boston Daily Advertiser" for Dec. 4, 1819). 

f "A Memorial to the Congress of the United States, on the 
Subject of Restraining the Increase of Slavery in the New States 
to be admitted into the Union," etc. etc. Boston, 1819. pp. 22. 

X See a valuable series of papers in the " Boston Daily Adver- 
tiser," No. I. to VI., on this subject, from Nov. 20 to Dec. 28, 
1819. Charge of Judge Story to the Grand Juries, etc.; ibid. 
Dec. 7 and 8, 1819. Article on the Missouri Compromise, in 
"North American Review," Jan. 1820. Mr. King's speech in 
Senate of United States, in " Columbian Centinel " for Jan. 19 and 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



191 



Boston said : " Other calamities are trifles compared 
to this (slavery). War has alleviations ; if it does 
much evil, it does some good : at least, it has an end. 
But negro-slavery is misery without mixture ; it is 
Pandora's box, but no Hope at the bottom ; it is evil, 
and only evil, and that continually." * 

A meeting of the most respectable citizens of 
Worcester resolved against " any further extension 
of slavery," as " rendering our boasted Land of 
Liberty preeminent only as a mart for Human 
Flesh." 

" Sad prospects," said the "Boston Daily Adver- 
tiser," " indeed for emancipators and colonizers, that, 
faster than the wit or the means of men can devise 
a method even for keeping stationary the frightful 
propagation of slavery, other men, members of the 
same community, sometimes colleagues of the same 
deliberative assembly will be compassing, with all 
their force, the widest possible extension of sla- 
very." f 

The South uttered its threat of "dissolving the 
Union," if slavery were not extended west of the 
Mississippi. " The threat," said a writer, " when we 
consider from whence it comes, raises at once won- 



22, 1820. See also the comments of the " Daily Advertiser" on 
the treachery of Mr. Mason, the Boston representative, March 28 
and 29, 1820. 

* " L.M." in " Columbian Centinel " for Dec. 8, 1819. 
f " Boston Daily Advertiser" for Nov. 20, 1819. 



192 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



der and pity, but has never been thought worth a 
serious answer here. Even the academicians of 
Laputa never imagined such a nation as these seced- 
ing States would form." " We have lost much ; our 
national honor has received a stain in the eyes of the 
world ; we have enlarged the sphere of human 
misery and crime." * Only four New Englanders 
voted for the Missouri Compromise, — Hill and 
Holmes of Maine, Mason and Shaw of Massachu- 
setts. 

]\Ir. Webster held no public office in this State, 
until he was chosen a member of the Convention 
for amending the Constitution of the Common- 
wealth. 

It appears that he had a large influence in the 
Massachusetts Convention. His speeches, however, 
do not show any remarkable depth of philosophy, or 
width of historic view ; but they display the strength 
of a great mind not fully master of his theme. They 
are not always fair ; they sometimes show the 
specious arguments of the advocate, and do not 
always indicate the soundness of the judge. He 
developed no new ideas ; looked back more than 
forward. He stated his opinions with clearness and 
energy. His leaning was then, as it always was, 
towards the concentration of power ; not to its diffu- 



* " Boston Daily Advertiser" of March 16, 1820. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



193 



sion. It was the Federal leaning of New England 
at the time. He had no philosophical objection to a 
technical religious test as the qualification for office, 
but did not think it expedient to found a measure on 
that principle. He wanted property, and not popu- 
lation, as the basis of representation in the senate. 
It was " the true basis and measure of power." 
" Political power," said he, " naturally and necessa- 
rily goes into the hands which holds the property." 
The House might rest on men, the Senate on money. 
He said, " It would seem to be the part of political 
wisdom to found government on property ; " yet 
he wished to have the property diffused as widely as 
possible. He was not singular in this preference of 
money to men. Others thought, that, to put the 
Senate on the basis of population, and not property, 
was a change of " an alarming character." 

He had small confidence in the people ; apparently 
little sympathy with the multitude of men. He was 
jealous of the Legislature ; afraid of its encroach- 
ment on the Judiciary, — New Hampshire, had per- 
haps, shown him examples of legislative injustice, — 
but contended ably for the independence of Judges. 
He had great veneration for the existing Constitution, 
and thought there would "never be any occasion 
for great changes " in it, and that u no revision of 
its general principles would be necessary." Others 
of the same party thought also that the Constitution 
was " the most perfect system that human wisdom 

vol. i. 17 



194 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



had ever devised." To judge from the record, Mr. 
Webster found abler heads than his own in that 
Convention. Indeed it would have been surprising 
if a young man, only eight and thirty years of age, 
should surpass the " assembled wisdom of the 
State." * 

On the 2d of December, 1823, Mr. Webster took 
his seat in the House of Representatives, as member 
for Boston. He defended the cause of the Greeks 
" with the power of a great mind applied to a great 
subject," denounced the " Holy Alliance," and rec- 
ommended interference to prevent oppression. Pub- 
lic opinion set strongly in that direction.! " The 



* Some valuable passages of Mr. Webster's speeches are omit- 
ted from the edition of his Works. (Compare vol. iii. pp. 15 and 
17, with the "Journal of Debates and Proceedings in the Con- 
vention of Delegates," etc. Boston, 1821. pp. 143, 144, and 145, 
146.) A reason for the omission will be obvious to any one 
who reads the original, and remembers the position and expecta- 
tions of the author in 1851. 

f Meetings had been held in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, 
and other important towns, and considerable sums of money 
raised on behalf of the Greeks. Even the educated men were 
filled with enthusiasm for the descendants of Anacreon and Peri- 
cles. The leading journals of England were on the same side. 
Sec the letters of John Q. Adams to Mr. Rich and Mr. Luriottis, 
Dec. 18, 1823; and of John Adams, Dec. 29, 1823. Mr. Clay 
was on the same side with Mr. Webster. But Mr. Randolph, in 
his speech in House of Representatives, Jan. 20, 1824, tartly 
asked, u Why have we never sent an envoy to our sister republic 
Hayti?" 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



195 



policy of our Government," said he, "is on the side 
of liberal and enlightened sentiments ; " " The civil- 
ized world has done with ' The enormous faith of 
many made for one.' " * 

In 1816 he had opposed a tariff which levied a 
heavy duty on imports ; in 1824 he opposed it again, 
with vigorous arguments. His speech at that time 
is a work of large labor, of some nice research, and 
still of value.f " Like a mighty giant," says Mr. 
Hayne, " he bore away upon his shoulders the pil- 
lars of the temple of error and delusion, escaping 
himself unhurt, and leaving his adversaries over- 
whelmed in its ruins." He thought, " the authority 
of Congress to exercise the revenue-power with 
direct reference to the protection of manufactures is 
a questionable authority." J He represented the 
opinion of New England, which " discountenanced 
the progress of this policy" of high duties. The 
Federalists of the North inclined to free trade ; in 
1807 Mr. Dexter thought it " an unalienable right," § 
and in 1820 Judge Story asked why should "the 
laboring classes be taxed for the necessaries of life ? "|| 

* See the just and beautiful remarks of Mr. Webster in this 
speech. Works, vol. iii. pp. 77, 78, and 92 and 93. Oh si sic 

semper ! 

f Vol. iii. p. 94, et seq. See Speech in Faneuil Hall, Oct. 2, 
1820. 

% Speech in reply to Hayne, vol. iii. p. 305. 
§ Argument in District Court of Massachusetts against the 
Embargo. 

|| Memorial of the Citizens of Salem. 



196 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



The tariff of 1824 got but one vote from Massachu- 
setts. As the public judgment of Northern capitalists 
changed, it brought over the opinion of Mr. Web- 
ster, who seems to have had no serious and sober 
convictions on this subject. At one time, he declares 
the protective system is ruinous to the laboring man ; 
but again " it is aimed point-blank at the protection 
of labor ; " and the duty on coal must not be dimin- 
ished, lest coal grow scarce and dear.* Non-impor- 
tation was " an American instinct." f 

In 1828 he voted for " the bill of abominations," 
as that tariff was called, which levied " thirty -two 
millions of duties on sixty-four millions of imports," 
" not because he was in favor of the measure, but 
as the least of two evils." 

In 1816 the South wanted a protective tariff: the 
commercial North hated it. It was Mr. Calhoun J 
who introduced the measure first. Mr. Clay gave it 
the support of his large talents and immense per- 
sonal influence, and built up the " American Sys- 
tem." Pennsylvania and New York were on that 
side. General Jackson voted for the tariff of 1824. 
Mr. Clay was jealous of foreign commerce : it was 
" the great source of foreign wars ; " " The predilec- 



* Works, vol. iv. p. 309. f Works, vol. ii. p. 352. 

% See Mr. Calhoun's reason for this. Life and Speeches, p. 70, 
et seq. But see the articles of a " Friend to Truth " upon Mr. 
Calhoun and the Protective System, in the Richmond Enquirer 
for November, 1832. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



197 



tion of the school of the Essex junto," said he, " for 
foreign trade and British fabrics is unconquerable." 
Yet he correctly said, " New England will have the 
first and richest fruits of the tariff." * 

After the system of protection got footing, the 
Northern capitalists set about manufacturing in 
good earnest, and then Mr. Webster became the 
advocate of a high tariff of protective duties. Here 
he has been blamed for his change of opinion ; but 
to him it was an easy change. He was not a scien- 
tific legislator : he had no great and comprehensive 
ideas of that part of legislation which belongs to 
political economy. He looked only at the fleeting 
interest of his constituents, and took their transient 
opinions of the hour for his norm of conduct. As 
these altered, his own views also changed. Some- 
times the change was a revolution.! It seems to 
me his first opinion was right, and his last a fatal 
mistake, that he never answered his first great speech 
of 1824 : but it also appears that he was honest in 
the change ; for he only looked at the pecuniary in- 



* Speech in House of Representatives, April 26, 1820. Works, 
(New York, 1843,) vol. i. p. 159. 

f Compare his speeches on the tariff in 1824 and 1828 (Works, 
vol. iii. p. 94, et seq.; and 228, et seq.) with his subsequent 
speeches thereon in 1837, 1846. Works, vol. iv. p. 304, et seq.; 
vol. v. p. 361, et seq.; and vol. ii. p. 130, et seq. and 349, et seq. 
Compare vol. iii. p. 118, et seq. and 124, et seq. with vol. ii. p. 357. 
See his reasons for the change of opinion in vol. v. p. 186 and 240. 
All of these speeches are marked by great ability of statement. 

17* 



198 



DAXIEL WEBSTER. 



terest of his employers, and took their opinions for 
his guide. But he had other fluctuations on this 
matter of the tariff, which do not seem capable of so 
honorable an explanation.* 

In the days of nullification, Mr. "Webster denied 
the right of South Carolina to secede from the 
Union, or to give a final interpretation of the Con- 
stitution. She maintained that the Federal Gov- 
ernment had violated the Constitution ; that she, 
the aggrieved State of South Carolina, was the 
judge in that matter, and had a constitutional right 
to ' ; nullify n the Constitution, and withdraw from 
the Union. 

The question is a deep one. It is the old is- 
sue of Federal and Democrat, — the question be- 
tween the constitutional power of the whole, and 
the powder of the parts, — Federal power and State 
power. Mr. Webster was always in favor of a 
strong central government ; honestly in favor of it, I 
doubt not. His speeches on that subject were most 
masterly speeches. I refer, in particular, to that in 
1830 against Mr. Hayne, and the speech in 1833 
against Mr. Calhoun. 

The first of these is the great political speech of 



* Compare his speech in Faneuil Hall, September, 30, 1842, 
*rith his tariff speeches in 1846. Works, vol. ii. p. 130, et seq. 
with voL v- p. 161, et seq. and vol. ii. p. 349, et seq. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



199 



Daniel Webster. I do not mean to say that it is 
just in its political ethics, or deep in the metaphysics 
of politics, or far-sighted in its political providence. 
I only mean to say that it surpasses all his other 
political speeches in the massive intellectual power 
of statement. Mr. Webster was then eight and 
forty years old. He defended New England against 
Mr. Hayne ; he defended the Constitution of the 
United States against South Carolina. His speech 
is full of splendid eloquence ; he reached high, and 
put the capstone upon his fame, whose triple foun- 
dation he had laid at Plymouth, at Bunker Hill, and 
at Faneuil Hall. The republican members of the 
Massachusetts Legislature " unanimously thanked 
him for his able vindication of their State. A Vir- 
ginian, who heard the speech, declared he felt ' ; as if 
looking at a mammoth treading his native cane- 
brake, and, without apparent consciousness, crush- 
ing obstacles which nature had never designed as 
impediments to him." 

He loved concentrated power, and seems to have 
thought the American Government was exclusively 
national, and not Federal.* The Constitution was 
" not a compact/' He was seldom averse to sacri- 
ficing the rights of the individual States to the claim 
of the central authority. He favored consolidation 



* Last remarks on Foote's Resolution, and Speech in Senate, 
13th Feb. 1833. Works, vol. ih. p. 343, et seq.; US, et seq. 



200 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



of power, while the South Carolinians and others 
preferred local self-government. It was no doctrine 
of his "that unconstitutional laws bind the people 
but it was his doctrine that such laws bind the peo- 
ple until the Supreme Court declares them uncon- 
stitutional; thus making, not the Constitution, but 
the discretion of the rulers, the measure of its 
powers ! 

It is customary at the North to think Mr. Webster 
wholly in the right, and South Carolina wholly in 
the wrong, on the question of nullification ; but it 
should be remembered, that some of the ablest men 
whom the South ever sent to Washington thought 
otherwise. There was a good deal of truth in the 
speech of Mr. Hayne : he was alarmed at the in- 
crease of the central power, which seemed to invade 
the rights of the States. Mr. Calhoun defended the 
Carolinian idea ; * and Calhoun was a man of great 
mind, a sagacious man, a man of unimpeachable 
integrity in private.f Mr. Clay was certainly a man 
of very large intellect, wise and subtle and far-sighted. 
But, in 1833, he introduced his " Compromise Meas- 



* See Mr. Calhoun's Disquisition on Government, and his Dis- 
course on the Constitution and Government of the United States, 
in his Works, vol. i. (Charleston, 1851) ; Life and Speeches 
(New York, 1843), No. iii.-vi. See, too, Life and Speeches, No. 
ix., xix., xxii. 

f A more thorough acquaintance with the character and con- 
duct of Mr. Calhoun, makes it doubtful to me that he deserves 
this threefold praise. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



201 



ure," to avoid the necessity of enforcing the opin- 
ions of Mr. Webster. 

I must pass over many things in Mr. Webster's 
congressional career. 

While Secretary of State, he performed the chief 
act of his public life, — the one deed on which his 
reputation as a political administrator seems now to 
settle down and rest. He negotiated the Treaty of 
Washington in 1842. The matter was difficult, the 
claims intricate ; there were four parties to pacify, 
^England, the United States, Massachusetts, and 
Maine. The quarrel was almost sixty years old. 
Many political doctors had laid their hands on the 
immedicable wound, which only smarted sorer under 
their touch. The British Government sent over a 
minister to negotiate a treaty with the American 
Secretary. The two eminent statesmen settled the 
difficulty. It has been said that no other man in 
America could have done so well, and drawn the 
thunder out of the gathered cloud. Perhaps I am 
no judge of that ; yet I do not see why any sensible 
and honest man could not have done the work. You 
all remember the anxiety of America and of Eng- 
land; the apprehension of war; and the delight 
when these two countries shook hands, as the work 
was done. Then we all felt that there was only one 
English nation, — the English Briton and the Eng- 
lish American ; that Webster and Ashburton were 



202 



DANIEL "WEBSTER. 



fellow-citizens, yea, brothers of the same great An- 
glo-Saxon tribe. 

His letters on the Right of Search, and the British 
claim to impress seamen from American ships, 
would have done honor to any statesman in the 
world.* He refused to England the right to visit 
and search our ships, on the plea of their being en- 
gaged in the slave-trade. Some of my anti-slavery 
brethren have censured him for this. I always 
thought he was right in the matter. But, on the 
other side, his celebrated letter to Lord Ashburton, 
in the Creole case, seems to me most eminently un- 
just, false in law, and wicked in morality-! It is the 
greatest stain on that negotiation ; and it is wonder- 
ful to me, that, in 1846, Mr. Webster could himself 
declare he thought that letter was the " most tri- 
umphant production " from his pen in all the corre- 
spondence. 

Bat let us pause a moment, and see how much 
praise is really due to Mr. Webster for negotiating 
the treaty. I limit my remarks to the north-eastern 
boundary. The main question was, Where is the 
north-west angle of Nova Scotia, mentioned in the 
treaty of 1783 ? for a line, drawn due north from the 
source of the river St. Croix to the summit of the 
highlands dividing the waters of the Atlantic from 
those of the St. Lawrence, was to terminate at that 



* Works, vol. vi. p. 318, et seq. 



f Id. p. 303, et seq. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



203 



point. The American claim was most abundantly 
substantiated ; but it left the British Provinces. New 
Brunswick and Canada, in an embarrassed position. 
No military road could be maintained between them ; 
and, besides, the American border came very near 
to Quebec. Accordingly, the British Government, 
on the flimsiest pretext, refused to draw the lines and 
erect the monuments contemplated by the treaty of 
1794 ; perverted the language of the treaty of 17S3, 
which was too plain to be misunderstood ; and grad- 
ually extended its claim further and further to the 
west. By the treaty of Ghent (1814), it was pro- 
vided that certain questions should be left out to a 
friendly power for arbitration. In 1827, this matter 
was referred to the King of the Netherlands : he was 
to determine w r here the line of the treaty ran. He 
did not determine that question, but, in 1831, pro- 
posed a new conventional line. His award ceded to 
the British about 4,119 square miles of land in 
Maine. The English assented to it ; but the Amer- 
icans refused to accept the award, Mr. Webster op- 
posing it. He was entirely convinced that the 
American claim was just and sound, and the Amer- 
ican interpretation of the Treaty of 17 S3 the only 
correct one. On a memorable occasion, in the Sen- 
ate of the United States, Mr. Webster declared — 
" that Great Britain ought forthwith to be told, that, 
unless she would agree to settle the question by the 
4th of July next, according to the treaty of 17 S3. 



204 



DAXIEL WEBSTER. 



we would then take possession of that line, and let 
her drive us off if she can! " * 

The day before, and in all soberness, he declared 
that he " never entertained a doubt that the right to 
this disputed territory was in the United States." 
This was u perfectly clear, — so clear that the con- 
troversy never seemed to him hardly to reach to the 
dignity of a debatable question." 

But, in 1S42, the British minister came to nego- 
tiate a treaty. Maine and Massachusetts were asked 
to appoint commissioners to help in the matter; for 
it seemed determined on that those States were to 
relinquish some territory to which they had a lawful 
claim. Those States could not convey the territory 
to England, but might authorize the Federal Gov- 
ernment to make the transfer. The treaty was made, 
and accepted by Maine and Massachusetts. But it 
ceded to Great Britain all the land which the award 
had given, and 893 square miles in addition. Thus 
the treaty conveyed to Great Britain more than five 
thousand square miles — upwards of three million 
acres — of American territory, to which, by the terms 
of the treaty, the American title was perfectly good. 
Rouse's Point was ceded to the United States, with 
a narrow strip of land on the north of Vermont and 
New Hampshire ; but the king's award gave us 



* Evening Debate of Senate, Feb. 27, 1839 (in "Boston At- 
las" of March 1). 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



205 



Rouse's Point at less cost. The rights which the 
Americans gained with the navigation of a part of 
the St. John's River were only a fair exchange for 
the similar right conceded to the British. As a 
compensation to Maine and Massachusetts for the 
loss of the land and the jurisdiction over it, the 
United States paid those two States $300,000, and 
indemnified Maine for the expenses occasioned by 
the troubles which had grown out of the contested 
claims, — about §300,000 more. Great Britain 
gained all that was essential to the welfare of her 
colonies. All her communications, civil and mili- 
tary, were forever placed beyond hostile reach ; and 
all the military positions claimed by America, with 
the exception of Rouse's Point, were for ever 
secured to Great Britain ! What did England 
concede ? The British government still keeps (in 
secret) the identical map used by the English and 
American Commissioners who negotiated the treaty 
of 1783 : the Boundary line is drawn on it, in red 
ink, with a pen, exactly where the Americans had 
always claimed that the Treaty required it to be ! 

It was fortunate that the controversy was settled'^ 
it was wise in America to be liberal. A tract of 
wild land, though half as large as Massachusetts, is- 
nothing compared to a war. It is as well for man- 
kind that the jurisdiction over that spot belongs to 
the Lion of England as to the Eagle of America. 
But I fear a man who makes such a bargain is not 

vol. i. 18 



206 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



entitled to any great glory among diplomatists. In 
1832, Maine refused to accept the award of the king, 
even when the Federal Government offered her a 
million acres of good land in Michigan, of her own 
selection, valued at a million and a quarter of dollars. 
Had it been*a question of the south-western boun- 
dary, and not the north-eastern, Mexico would have 
had an answer to her claim very different from that 
which England received. Mr. Webster was deter- 
mined on negotiating the treaty at all hazards, and 
was not very courteous to those who expostulated 
and stood out for the just rights of Maine and Mas- 
sachusetts ; nay, he was indignant at the presump- 
tion of these States asking for compensation when 
their land was ceded away ! * 

* For the facts of this controversy, see, I. The Definitive Treaty 
of Peace, etc. 1783. Public Statutes of the United States of 
America (Boston, 1846), vol. viii. p. 80. Treaty of Amity, Com- 
merce, and Navigation, etc. 1794, ibid. p. 116. Treaty of Peace 
and Amity, 1814, ibid. p. 218. — II. Act of Twentieth Congress, 
stat. i. chap. xxx. id. vol. iv. p. 262. Act of Twenty-sixth Con- 
gress, stat. i. chap. lii. ibid. vol. v. p. 402 ; and stat. ii. chap. ii. p. 
413. III. Statement, on the part of the United States, of the 
Case referred in pursuance of the Convention of 29th September, 
1827, between the said States and Great Britain, to his Majesty 
the King of the Netherlands, for his decision thereon (Washing- 
ton, 1829). North American Boundary, A.: Correspondence re- 
lating to the Boundary, etc. etc. (London, 1838). North Ameri- 
can Boundary, part I. : Correspondence relating to the Boundary, 
etc. (London, 1840). The Right of the United States of America 
to the North-eastern Boundary claimed by them, etc. etc., by 
Albert Gallatin, etc. (New York, 1840). Documents of the 
Senate of Massachusetts, 1839, No. 45 ; 1841, No. 9. Documents 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



207 



Was there any real danger of a war ? If Eng- 
land had claimed clear down to the Connecticut, I 
think the Southern masters of the North would have 
given up Bunker Hill and Plymouth Rock, rather 
than risk to the chances of a British war the twelve 
hundred million dollars invested in slaves. Men 
who live in straw houses think twice before they 
scatter firebrands abroad. England knew well with 
whom she had to deal, and authorized her repre- 
sentative to treat only for a " conventional line," not 
to accept the line of the treaty ! Mr. Webster suc- 
ceeded in negotiating, because he gave up more 
American territory than any one would yield before, 
— more than the king of the Netherlands had pro- 
posed. Still, we may all rejoice in the settlement of 
the question ; and if Great Britain had admitted our 
claim by the plain terms of the treaty, and then 
asked for the land so valuable and necessary to her, 
who in New England would have found fault ? * 

After the conclusion of the treaty, Mr. Webster 
came to Boston. You remember his speech in 1842, 
in Faneuil Hall. He was then sixty years old. He 



of the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massa- 
chusetts, 1842, No. 44. — IV. Congressional Globe, etc. (Wash- 
ington, 1843), vol. xii. and Appendix. Mr. Webster's Defence 
of the Treaty; Works, vol. v. p. 18, et seq. 

* The time has not yet come when the public can completely 
understand this negotiation, and I pass over some things which it 
is not now prudent to relate. 



203 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



had done the great deed of his life. He still held a 
high station. He scorned, or affected to scorn, the 
littleness of party and its narrow platform, and 
claimed to represent the people of the United States. 
Everybody knew the importance of his speech. I 
counted sixteen reporters of the New r England and 
Northern press at that meeting. It was a proud day 
for him, and also a stormy day. Other than friends 
were about him. It was thought that he had just 
scattered the thunder which impended over the 
nation. But a sullen cloud still hung over his own 
expectations of the Presidency. He thundered his 
eloquence into that cloud, — the great ground-light- 
ning of his Olympian pow r er. 

I come now r to speak of his relation to Slavery. 
Up to 1850, with occasional fluctuations, much of 
his conduct had been just and honorable. As a 
private citizen, in 1819, he opposed the Missouri 
Compromise. At the meeting of the citizens of Bos- 
ton to prevent that iniquity, he said, "We are acting 
for unborn millions, who lie along before us in the 
track of time." * The extension of slavery would de- 
moralize the people, and endanger the welfare of the 
nation. " Nor can the laws derive support from the 
manners of the people, if the power of moral senti- 
ment be weakened by enjoying, under the per- 



* Reported in the " Columbian Centinel" for December 8, 
1819, not contained in the edition of his "Works ! 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



209 



mission of the government, great facilities to commit 
offences."* 

A few months after the deed was done, on Fore- 
fathers' Day in 1820, standing on Plymouth Rock, he 
could say : — 

u I deem it my duty, on this occasion, to suggest, that the land 
is not yet -wholly free from the contamination of a traffic, at which 
even.- feeling of humanity must for ever revolt, — I mean the Af- 
rican slave-trade. Neither public sentiment nor the law has 
hitherto been able entirely to put an end to this odious and abom- 
inable trade. At the moment when God in his mercy has blessed 
the Christian -world -with a universal peace, there is reason to fear, 
that, to the disgrace of the Christian name and character, new 
efforts are making for the extension of this trade by subjects and 
citizens of Christian States, in -whose hearts there dwell no senti- 
ments of humanity or of justice, and over -whom neither the fear 
of God nor the fear of man exercises a control. In the sight of 
our law, the African slave-trader is a pirate and a felon : and, in 
the sight of Heaven, an offender far beyond the ordinary depth of 
human guilt There is no brighter page of our history than that 
which records the measures which have been adopted by the Gov- 
ernment at an early day, and at different times since, for the sup- 
pression of this traffic ; and I would call on all the true sons of 
2sew England to cooperate with the laws of man and the justice of 
Heaven. If there be, within the extent of our knowledge or influ- 
ence, any participation in this traffic, let us pledge ourselves here, 
upon the rock of Plymouth, to extirpate and destroy it. It is not 
fit that the land of the Pilgrims should bear the shame longer. I 
hear the sound of the hammer ; I see the smoke of the furnaces 
where manacles and fetters are still forged for human limbs. I 

* Memorial to Congress, ut supra : also omitted in Works. 

18* 



210 



DAXIEL WEBSTER. 



see the visages of those who, by stealth and at midnight, labor in 
this work of hell, foul and dark, as may become the artificers of 
such instruments of misery and torture. Let that spot be purified, 
or let it cease to be of Xew England. Let it be purified, or let it 
/be set aside from the Christian world. Let it be put out of the 
circle of human sympathies and human regards ; and let civilized 
man henceforth have no communion with it" * 

In 1830, he praised Nathan Dane for the Ordi- 
nance which makes the difference between Ohio and 
Kentucky, and honorably vindicated that man who 
lived "too near the north star" for Southern eyes to 
see. " I regard domestic slavery," said Mr. Webster 
to Mr. Hayne, " as one of the greatest evils, both 
moral and political." f 

In 1837, at Niblo's Garden, he avowed his entire 
unwillingness to do any thing which should extend 
the slavery of the African race on this continent. 
He said : — 

" On the general question of slaver}-, a great portion of the 
community is already strongly excited. The subject has not only 
attracted attention as a question of politics, but it has struck a 
far deeper-toned chord. It has arrested the religious feeling of 
the country ; it has taken strong hold on the consciences of men. 
He is a rash man, indeed, and little conversant with human 
nature, — and especially has he a very erroneous estimate of the 
character of the people of this country, — who supposes that a 
feeling of this kind is to be trifled with or despised. It will assur- 
edly cause itself to be respected. It may be reasoned with ; it 



* Works, vol. i. p. 45, et seq. 

t Id., vol. iii. p. 279 ; see also p. 263, et seq. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



211 



may be made willing — I believe it is entirely willing — to fulfil 
all existing engagements, and all existing duties ; to uphold and 
defend the Constitution as it is established, with whatever regrets 
about some provisions which it does actually contain. But to 
coerce it into silence, to restrain its free expression, to seek to 
compress and confine it, warm as it is, and more heated as such 
endeavors would inevitably render it, — should this be attempted, 
I know nothing, even in the Constitution or in the Union itself, 
which would not be endangered by the explosion which might 
follow." * 

He always declared that slavery was a local mat- 
ter of the South ; sectional, not national. In 1830 
he took the ground that the general government had 
nothing to do with it. In 1840, standing " beneath 
an October sun " at Richmond, he declared again 
that there was no power, direct or indirect, in Con- 
gress or the general government, to interfere in the 
smallest degree with the " institutions " of the 
South, f 

At first he opposed the annexation of Texas ; he 
warned men against it in 1837. He went so far as 
to declare : — 

" I do say that the annexation of Texas would tend to prolong 
the duration and increase the extent of African slavery on this 
continent. I have long held that opinion, and I would not now 
suppress it for any consideration on earth ! and because it does 
increase the evils of slavery, because it will increase the number 
of slaves and prolong the duration of their bondage, — because it 



* Works, vol. i. p. 356-7. f Id., vol. ii. p. 93, et seq. 



212 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



does all this, I oppose it without condition and without qualifica- 
tion, at this time and all times, now and forever" * 

He prepared some portions of the Address of the 
Massachusetts Anti- Texas Convention in 1845. 
But, as some of the leading Whigs of the North 
opposed that meeting and favored annexation, he 
did not appear at the Convention, but went off to 
New York ! In 1845 he voted against annexation. 
He said that he had felt it to be his duty steadily, 
uniformly, and zealously to oppose it. He did not 
wish America to be possessed by the spirit of 
aggrandizement. He objected to annexation princi- 
pally because Texas was a Slave State, f Here he 
stood with John Quincy Adams, but, alas ! did too 
little to oppose that annexation. Against him were 
Mr. Calhoun, the South, almost all the Democratic 
party of the North, — Mr. Van Buren losing his 
nomination on account of his hostility to new 
slave-soil ; and many of the capitalists of the North 
wished a thing that Mr. Webster wanted not. 

He objected to the Constitution of Texas. Why ? 
Because it tied up the hands of the Legislature 
against the abolition of slavery. He said so on 
Forefathers' Day, two hundred and twenty-five years 
after the landing of the Pilgrims on Plymouth Rock. 
Then he could not forget his own proud words, 
uttered a quarter of a century before. I thought 



* Works, vol. 1, p. 270. f iJ., vol. ii. p. 552, et seq. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



213 



him honest then ; I think so still. But he said that 
New England might have prevented annexation ; 
that Massachusetts might have prevented annexa- 
tion, only "she could not be roused." If he had 
labored then for freedom with as much vigor and 
earnestness as he wrought for slavery in 1850 and 
1851, Massachusetts would have been roused ; New 
England would have risen as a single man ; and an- 
nexation of new slave-soil have been put off till the 
Greek Kalends, a day beyond eternity. Yet he did 
some service in this work. 

After the outbreak of the Mexican war, the north- 
ern men sought to pass a law prohibiting slavery in 
the new territory gained from Mexico. The cele- 
brated " Wilmot Proviso " came up. Mr. Webster 
also wished to prohibit slavery in the new territory. 
In March, 1847, he presented to Congress the resolu- 
tions of the Massachusetts Legislature against the 
extension of slavery, — which had been passed 
unanimously, — and he " indorsed them all." 

" I thank her for it, and am proud of her ; for she has de- 
nounced the whole object for which our armies are now travers- 
ing the mountains of Mexico." " If any thing is certain, it is 
that the sentiment of the whole North is utterly opposed to the 
acquisition of territory to be formed into new Slave-holding 
States." * 

At the Whig Convention at Springfield, in 1847, 



* " Congressional Globe," March, 1847, p. 555. 



214 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



he maintained that the WilmOt Proviso was his 
" thunder." 

" Did I not commit myself in 1837 to the whole doctrine, fully, 
entirely ? " "I cannot quite consent that more recent discoverers 
should claim the merit and take out a patent. We are to use the 
first and the last and every occasion which offers to oppose the 
extension of slave power." * 

On the 10th of August, 1848, in the Senate of the 
United States, he said : — 

" My opposition to the increase of slavery in this country, or 
to the increase of slave-representation, is general and universal. 
It has no reference to the lines of latitude or points of the com- 
pass. I shall oppose all such extension at all times and under all 
circumstances, even against all inducements, against all supposed 
limitations of great interests, against all combinations, against all 
compromises." 

He sought to gain the support of the Free-Soilers 
in Massachusetts, and encouraged their enterprise. 
Even when he denounced the nomination of Gen- 
eral Taylor as " not fit to be made," he declared 
that he could stand on the Buffalo Platform ; its 
Anti- Slavery planks were good sound Whig timber; 
he himself had had some agency in getting them 
out, and did not see the necessity of a new organiza- 
tion. He had never voted for the admission of a 
Slave State into the Union! 

But, alas ! all this was to pass away. Was he 



* Remarks in Convention at Springfield, Sept. 10, 1847 ; re- 
ported in " Boston Daily Advertiser." 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



215 



sincere in his opposition to the extension of slavery ? 
I always thought so. I think so still. 

Yet, after all, on the 7th of March, 1850, he could 
make that speech — you know it too well. He re- 
fused to exclude slavery by law from California and 
New Mexico. It would " irritate " the South, would 
" reenact the law of God." He declared Congress 
was bound to make four new Slave States out of 
Texas; to allow all the territory below 36° 30' to 
become Slave States ; he volunteered to give Texas 
fifty thousand square mile's of land for slave-territory, 
and ten millions of dollars ; would refund to Vir- 
ginia two hundred millions of dollars derived from 
the sale of the public lands, to expatriate the free 
colored people from her soil ; he would support the 
Fugitive Slave Bill, with all its amendments, " with 
all its provisions," " to the fullest extent." 

You know the Fugitive Slave Bill too well. It is 
bad enough now ; but when he first volunteered his 
support thereto, it was far worse, for then every one 
of the seventeen thousand postmasters of America 
might be a legal kidnapper by that Bill* He pledged 
our own Massachusetts to support it, and that " with 
alacrity." 

My friends, you all know the speech of ^fche 7th of 
March : you remember how men felt when the tele- 

* See Speeches, Addresses, etc., of Theodore Parker, vol. ii. 
p. 160, et seq. 



216 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



graph brought the first news, they thought there 
must be some mistake ! They could not believe the 
lightning. You recollect how the "Whig party, and 
the Democratic party, and the newspapers, treated 
the report. When the speech came in full, you know 
the effect. One of the most conspicuous men of 
the State, then in high office, declared that Mr. Web- 
ster " seemed inspired by the devil to the extent of 
his intellect." You know the indignation men felt, 
the sorrow and anguish. I think not a hundred 
prominent men in all New England acceded to the 
speech. But such was the power of that gigantic 
understanding, that, eighteen days after his speech, 
nine hundred and eighty-seven men of Boston sent 
him a letter, telling him that he had pointed out 
" the path of duty, convinced the understanding and 
touched the conscience of a nation ; " and they ex- 
pressed to him their " entire concurrence in the sen- 
timents of that speech," and their " heartfelt thanks 
for the inestimable aid it afforded to the preservation" 
of the Union. 

You remember the return of Mr. W T ebster to Bos- 
ton ; the speech at the Revere House ; his word that 
" discussion " on the subject of slavery must " in 
some way be suppressed ; " you remember the " dis- 
agreeable duty ; " the question if Massachusetts 
"will be just against temptation;" whether " she 
will conquer her prejudices " in favor of the trial by 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



217 



jury, of the unalienable rights of man, in favor of 
the Christian religion, and 

" Those thoughts which wander through eternity." 

You remember the agony of our colored men. 
The Son of Man came to Jerusalem to seek and 
to save that which was lost ; but Daniel "Webster 
came to Boston to crush the poorest and most lost 
of men into the ground with the hoof of American 
power. 

At the moment of making that speech, Mr. Web- 
ster was a member of a French Abolition Society, 
which has for its object to protect, enlighten, and 
emancipate the African race ! * 

You all know what followed. The Fugitive Slave 
Bill passed. It was enforced. You remember the 
consternation of the colored people in Boston, New 
York, Buffalo, Philadelphia, — all over the land. 
You recollect the speeches of Mr. Webster at Buf- 
falo, Syracuse, and Albany, — his industry never 
equalled before ; his violence, his indignation, his de- 
nunciations. You remember the threat at Syracuse, 
that out of the bosom of the next Anti-slavery Con- 
vention should a fugitive slave be seized. You 
remember the scorn that he poured out on men who* 



* Institut d'Afrique pour 1' Abolition de la Traite et de l'Escla- 
vage. Art. ii. "II a pour but egalement de proteger, d'eclairer 
et d'emanciper la race Africaine." 

VOL. I. 19 



218 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



pledged " their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred 
honor," for the welfare of men.* 

You remember the letters to Mr. Webster from 
Newburyport, Kennebec, Medford, and his " Neigh- 
bors in New Hampshire." You have not forgotten 
the "Union Meetings:" "Blue-light Federalists," 
and " Genuine Democrats dyed in the wool," united 
into one phalanx of Hunkerism and became his 
" retainers," lay and clerical, — the laymen maintain- 
ing that his political opinions were an " amendment 
to the Constitution ; " and the clergymen, that his 
public and private practice was " one of the evidences 
of Christianity." You remember the sermons of 
Doctors of Divinity, proving that slavery was Chris- 
tian, good Old Testament Christian, at the very least. 
You do not forget the offer of a man to deliver up his 
own mother. Andover went for kidnapping. The 
loftiest pulpits, — I mean those highest bottomed on 
the dollar, — they went also for kidnapping. There 
arose a shout against the fugitive from the metropoli- 
tan pulpits, " Away with such a fellow from the earth ! 
— Kidnap him, kidnap him ! " And when we said, 
mildly remonstrating, " Why, what evil has the poor 
black man done ? " the answer was, — " We have a 
law, and by that law he ought to be a slave ! " 

* The speeches referred to have not all been collected in the 
" Works." See some of them in Mr. Webster's " Speeches at 
Buffalo, Syracuse, and Albany, May, 1851." Times Office, New 
York, [1851]. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



219 



You remember the first kidnappers which came 
here to Boston. Hughes was one of them, an ugly- 
looking fellow, that went back to die in a street 
brawl in his own Georgia. He thirsted for the blood 
of Ellen Craft.* 

You remember the seizure of Shadrach, and his 
deliverance out of his fiery furnace. Of course it 
was an Angel who let him out ; for that court, — the 
kidnappers' court, — thirsting for human blood, spite 
of the " enlargement of the testimony," after six 
trials, I think, has not found a man, who, at noonday 
and in the centre of the town, did the deed ! So I 
suppose it was an Angel who did the deed, and 
miracles are not over yet. I hope you have not for- 
gotten Caphart, the creature which " whips women," 
the great ally of the Boston kidnappers. 

You remember the kidnapping of Thomas Sims ; 
Faneuil Hall shut against the convention of the 
people ; the court house in chains ; the police drilled 
in the square ; soldiers in arms ; Faneuil Hall a bar- 
rack. You remember Fast Day, 1851, — at least I 
do.f You remember the "Acorn" and Boston on 
the 12th of April. You have not forgotten the dread- 
ful scenes at New York, Philadelphia, and Buffalo ; 
the tragedy at Christiana. 

You have not forgotten Mr. "Webster's definition 
of the object of government. In 1845, standing 

* See above p. 53, of this volume. 

f See Speeches, etc., vol. ii. p. 313, et seq., and this volume, p. 
70, et seq. 



220 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



over the grave of Judge Story, he said, — " Justice 
is the great interest of mankind ; " I think he thought 
so too ! But at New York, on the 18th of Novem- 
ber, 1850, he said, — " The great object of govern- 
ment is the protection of property at home, and re- 
spect and renown abroad." 

He went to Annapolis,' and made a speech com- 
plimenting a series of ultra resolutions in favor of 
slavery and slave-catching. One of the resolutions 
made the execution of the Fugitive Slave Law the 
sole bond of the Union. The orator of Bunker Hill 
replied : — 

" Gentlemen, I concur in the sentiments expressed by you all — 
and I thank God they were expressed by you all — in the resolu- 
tions passed here on the 10th of December. And allow me to 
say, that any State, North or South, which departs one iota from 
the sentiment of that resolution, is disloyal to this Union. 

" Further, — so far as any act of that sort has been committed, 
— such a State has no portion of my regard. / do 
not sympathize with it. I rebuke it wherever I speak, and on all 
occasions where it is proper for me to express my sentiments. If 
there are States — and I am afraid there are — which have 
sought, by ingenious contrivances of State legislation, to thwart 
the fair exercise and fulfilment of the laws of Congress passed to 
carry into effect the compacts of the Constitution, — that 
State, so far, is entitled to no regard from me. 
At the North there have been certainly some inti- 
mations in certain States of such a policy. 

" / hold the importance of maintaining these measures to be of 
the highest character and nature, every one of them out and out, 
and through and through. I have no confidence in anybody who 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



221 



seeks the repeal, in anybody who wishes to alter or modify these 
constitutional provisions. There they are. Many of these great 
measures are irrepealable. The settlement with Texas is as irre- 
pealable as the admission of California. Other important objects 
of legislation, if not in themselves in the nature of grants, and 
therefore not so irrepealable, are just as important ; and we are 
to hear no parleying upon it. We are to listen to no modification 
or qualification. They were passed in conformity with the pro- 
visions of the Constitution ; and they must be performed and 
abided by, in whatever event, and at whatever cost." 

Surrounded by the Federalists of New England, 
when a young man, fresh in Congress, he stood out 
nobly for the right to discuss all matters. Every 
boy knows his brave words by heart : — 

"Important as I deem it, sir, to discuss, on all -proper occasions, 
the policy of the measures at present pursued, it is still more im- 
portant to maintain the right of such discussion in its full and just 
extent. Sentiments lately sprung up, and now growing popular, 
render it necessary to be explicit on this point. It is the ancient 
and constitutional right of this people to canvass public measures, 
and the merits of public men. It is a homebred right, a fireside 
privilege. It has ever been enjoyed in every house, cottage, and 
cabin in the nation. It is not to be drawn into controversy. It 
is as undoubted as the right of breathing the air, and walking on 
the earth. Belonging to private life as a right, it belongs to pub- 
lic life as a duty ; and it is the last duty which those whose repre- 
sentative I am shall find me to abandon. This high constitutional 
privilege I shall defend and exercise within this house and with- 
out this house, and in all places ; in time of war, in time of peace, 
and at all times. 

" Living, I will assert it ; dying, I will assert it ; and should I 
leave no other inheritance to my children, by the blessing of God 

19* 



222 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



I -will leave them the inheritance of Free Principles, and the ex- 
ample of a manly, independent, and constitutional defence of 
them." 

Then, in 1850, when vast questions, so intimately 
affecting the welfare of millions of men, were before 
the country, he told us to suppress agitation ! 

' ; Neither you nor I shall see the legislation of the country pro- 
ceed in the old harmonious way, until the discussions in Congress 
and out of Congress upon the subject [of slavery] shall be in 
some way suppressed. Take that truth home with you, and take 
it as truth." 

u I shall support no agitations having their foundation in unreal 
and ghostly abstractions." * 

The opponents of Mr. Webster, contending for 
the freedom of all Americans, of all men, appealed 
from the Fugitive Slave Bill to " the element of all 
laws, out of which they are derived, to the end 
of all Jaws, for which they are designed and in 
which they are perfected." How did he resist the 
appeal ? You have not forgotten the speech at 
Capron Springs, on the 26th of June, 1851. " When 
nothing else will answ T er," he said, " they," the abo- 
litionists, "invoke 'religion,' and speak of the 
4 higher law r ! ' " He of the granite hills of New 
Hampshire, looking on the mountains of Virginia, 
blue with loftiness and distance, said, " Gentlemen, 



* Speech at the Revere House in Boston, April 29, 1850, in 
u Daily Advertiser " of April 30. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



223 



this North Mountain is high, the Blue Ridge higher 
still, the Alleghanies higher than either, and yet this 
'higher law' ranges further than an eagle's flight 
above the highest peaks of the Alleghanies ! No 
common vision can discern it ; no common and un- 
sophisticated conscience can feel it ; the hearing of 
common men never learns its high behests ; and, 
therefore, one would think it is not a safe law to be 
acted upon in matters of the highest practical mo- 
ment. It is the code, however, of the abolitionists 
of the North." 

This speech was made at dinner. The next " sen- 
timent " given after his was this : — 

" The Fugitive Slave Law — Upon its faithful execution de- 
pends the perpetuity of the Union." 

Mr. Webster made a speech in reply, and distinctly 
declared, — 

" You of the South have as much right to secure your fugitive 
slaves, as the North has to any of its rights and privileges of navi- 
gation and commerce." 

Do you think he believed that ? Daniel Webster 
knew better. In 1844, only seven years before, he 
had said, — 

" What ! when all the civilized world is opposed to slavery ; 
when morality denounces it ; when Christianity denounces it ; 
when every thing respected, every thing good, bears one united 
witness against it, is it for America — America, the land of Wash- 



224 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



ington, the model republic of the world — is it for America to 
come to its assistance, and to insist that the maintenance of sla- 
very is necessary to the support of her institutions ? " 

How do you think the audience answered then ? 
With six and twenty cheers. It was in Faneuil 
Hall. Mr. Webster said, " These are Whig princi- 
ples ; " and, with these, " Faneuil Hall may laugh a 
siege to scorn." That speech is not printed in his 
collection ! How could it stand side by side with 
the speech of the 7th of March ? 

In 1346, a Whig Convention voted to do its possi- 
ble to u defeat all measures calculated to uphold 
slavery, and promote all constitutional measures for 
its overthrow- ; " to " oppose any further addition of 
Slave-holding States to this Union;" and to have 
"free institutions for all, chains and fetters for none." 

At that time Mr. Webster declared he had a heart 
which beat for every thing favorable to the progress 
of human liberty, either here or abroad ; then, when 
in " the dark and troubled night " he saw only the 
Whig party as his Bethlehem Star, he rejoiced in 
" the hope of obtaining the power to resist whatever 
threatens to extend slavery." * Yet after New York 
had kidnapped Christians, and with civic pomp sent 
her own sons into slavery, he could go to that city 



* Speech at Faneuil Hall, September 23, 1846, reported in the 
" Daily Advertiser," September 24. 



DAXIEL WEBSTER. 



225 



and say, u It is an air which for the last few months 
I love to inhale. It is a patriotic atmosphere^ con- 
stitutional breezes fan it every day." * 

To accomplish a bad purpose, he resorted to mean 
artifice, to the low tricks of vulgar adventurers in 
politics. He used the same weapons once wielded 
against him, — misrepresentation, denunciation, in- 
vective, y Like his old enemy of New Hampshire, 
he carried his political quarrel into private life. He 
cast off the acquaintance of men intimate w4th him 
for twenty or thirty years. The malignity of his 
conduct, as it was once said of a great apostate, J 
"was hugely aggravated by those rare abilities 
whereof God had given him the use." Time had 
not in America bred a man before bold enough to 
consummate such aims as his. In this New Hamp- 
shire Strafford, M despotism had at length obtained 
an instrument with mind to comprehend, and resolu- 
tion to act upon, its principles in their length and 
breadth ; and enough of his purposes were effected 
by him to enable mankind to see as from a tower 
the end of alL" 

What was the design of all this ? It was to u save 
the Union.*' Such was the cry. Was the Union in 
danger ? Here were a few non-resistants at the 
North, who said, We will have t; no union with slave- 



* Speech at New York, May 12, 1851, in "Boston Atlas** of 
May 14. 

t See above p. 183-187. % Lord Strafford. 



226 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



holders." There was a party of seceders at the 
Soutjj, who periodically blustered about distlnion. 
Could these men bring the Union into peril ? Did 
Daniel Webster even think so ? I shall never insult 
that giant intellect by the thought. He knew South 
Carolina, he knew Georgia, very well.* Mr. Benton 
knew of no " distress," even at the time when it was 
alleged that the nation was bleeding at " five gaping 
wounds," so that it would take the whole Omnibus 
full of compromises to stanch the blood : " All the 
political distress is among the politicians." f I think 
Mr. Webster knew there was no danger of a disso- 
lution of the Union. But here is a proof that he 
knew it. In 1850, on the 22d of December, he 
declared, " There is no longer imminent danger of 
the dissolution of the United States. We shall live, 
and not die." But, soon after, he went about saving 
the Union again, and again, and again, — saved it 
at Buffalo, Albany, Syracuse, at Annapolis, and then 
at Capron Springs. 

I say there was no real danger ; but my opinion is 
a mere opinion, and nothing more. Look, however, 
at a fact. We have the most delicate test of public 
opinion, — the state of the public funds ; the barom- 
eter which indicates any change in the political 



* See his description in 1830 of the process and conclusion of 
nullification. Works, vol. iii. p. 337, et seq. 
t Speech in Senate, Sept. 10, 1850. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



227 



weather. If the winds blow down the Tiber, Roman 
funds fall. Talk of war between France and Eng- 
land, the stocks go down at Paris and London. The 
foolish talk about the fisheries last summer lowered 
American stocks in the market, to the great gain of 
prudent and far-sighted brokers, who knew there was 
no danger. But all this time, when Mr. Webster was 
telling us the ship of State was going to pieces, 
and required undergirding by the Fugitive Slave 
Bill, and needed the kidnapper's hand at the helm ; 
while he was advising Massachusetts to " conquer 
her prejudices " in favor of the unalienable rights of 
man ; while he was denouncing the friends of free- 
dom, and calling on us to throw over to Texas — that 
monster of the deep which threatened to devour the 
ship of State — fifty thousand square miles of terri- 
tory, and ten millions of dollars ; and to the other 
monster of secession to cast over the trial by jury, 
the dearest principles of the Constitution, of man- 
hood, of justice, and of religion, " those thoughts 
that wander through eternity;" while he himself 
revoked the noblest words of his whole life, casting 
over his interpretation of the Constitution, his respect 
for State rights, for the common law, his own 
morality, his own religion, and his own God, — the 
funds of the United States did not go down one mill ! 
You asked the capitalist, " Is the Union in danger?" 
He answered, " O yes ! it is in the greatest peril." 
" Then will you sell me your stocks lower than 



228 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



before ? " " Not a mill ; not one mill — not the ten 
hundredth part of a dollar in a hundred ! " To ask 
men to make such a sacrifice, at such a time, from 
such a motive, is as if you should beg the captain of 
the steamer " Niagara," in Boston harbor, in fair 
weather, to throw over all his cargo, because a dandy 
in the cabin was blowing the fire with his breath ! 
No, my friends, I shall not insult the majesty of that 
intellect with the thought that he believed there was 
danger to the Union. There was not any danger of 
a storm ; not a single cat's-paw in the sky ; not a 
capful of bad weather between Cape Sable and the 
Lake of the Woods ! 

But suppose the worst came to the worst, are there 
no other things as bad as disunion ? The Constitu- 
tion — does it " establish justice, insure domestic 
tranquillity," and " secure the blessings of liberty " to 
all the citizens ? Nobody pretends it, — with every 
eighth man made merchandise, and not an inch of 
free soil covered by the Declaration of Independence, 
save the five thousand miles which Mr. Webster 
ceded away. Is disunion worse than slavery ? Per- 
haps not even to commerce, which the Federalists 
thought " still more dear " than Union. But what if 
the South seceded next year, and the younger son 
took the portion of goods that falleth to him, when 
America divides her living ? Imagine the condition 
of the new nation, — the United States South ; a 
nation without schools, or the desire for them ; with- 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



229 



out commerce, without manufactures ; with six mil- 
lion white men and three million slaves ; working 
with that barbarous tool, slave-labor, an instrument 
as ill-suited to these times as a sickle of stone to cut 
grain with ! How would that new " Democracy " 
appear in the eyes of the world, when the public 
opinion of the nations looks hard at tyranny ? It 
would not be long before that younger son, having 
spent all with riotous living, and devoured his sub- 
stance with slavery, brought down to the husks that 
the swine do eat, — would arise, and go to the Nation, 
and say, " Father, forgive me ; I have sinned against 
heaven and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to 
be called thy son. Make me as one of thy hired 
servants." The Southern men know well, that if 
the Union were dissolved, their riches would take to 
themselves legs, and run away, — or firebrands, and 
make a St. Domingo out of Carolina ! They cast off 
the North ! they set up for themselves ! 

" Tush ! tush ! Fear boys with bugs ! " 

Here is the reason. He wanted to be President. 
That was all of it. Before this he had intrigued, — 
always in a clumsy sort, for he was organized for 
honesty, and cunning never throve in his keeping, — 
had stormed and blustered and bullied. " Gen. Tay- 
lor the second choice of Massachusetts for the Pres- 
ident," quoth he : " I tell you I am to be the first, and 
Massachusetts has no second choice." Mr. Clay 

vol. !• 20 



230 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



must not be nominated in '44 ; in '48 Gen. Taylor's 
was a M nomination not fit to be made." He wanted 
the office himself. This time he must storm the 
North, and conciliate the South. This was his bid 
for the Presidency, — fifty thousand square miles of 
territory and ten millions of dollars to Texas ; four 
new Slave States ; slavery in Utah and New Mex- 
ico ; the Fugitive Slave Bill ; and two hundred mil- 
lions of dollars offered to Virginia to carry free men 
of color to Africa. 

He never labored so before, and he had been a 
hard-working man. What speeches he made at 
Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Albany, Buffalo, 
Syracuse, Annapolis ! What letters he wrote! His 
intellect was never so active, nor gave such proofs of 
Herculean power. The hottest headed Carolinian 
did not put his feet faster or further on in the sup- 
port of slavery. He 

<; Stood up the strongest and the fiercest spirit 
That fought 'gainst Heaven, now fiercer by despair." 

Once he could say, — 

" By general instruction, ire seek as far as possible to purify 
the whole moral atmosphere ; to keep good sentiments uppermost, 
and to turn the strong current of feeling and opinion, as well as 
the censures of the law, and the denunciations of religion, against 
immorality and crime. We hope for a security beyond the law, 
and above the law, in the prevalence of enlightened and well- 
principled moral sentiment."* 

* Debate in the Mass. Convention, Dec. 5, 1820. "Journal," 
ubi sup. p. 145 ; erroneously printed 245. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



231 



In 1820 he could say, " All conscience ought to be 
respected ; " in 1850 it is only a fanatic who heeds 
his conscience, and there is no higher law* In 
scorn of the higher law, he far outwent his transat- 
lantic prototype ; for even Strafford, in his devotion 
to " Thorough" had some respect for the funda- 
mental law of nature, and said, — "If I must be a 
traitor to man or perjured to God, I will be faithful 
to my Creator." 

The fountains of his great deep were broken up 
— it rained forty days and forty nights, and brought 
a flood of slavery over this whole land ; it covered 
the market, and the factory, and the court house, and 
the warehouse, and the college, and rose up high 
over the tops of the tallest steeples ! But the Ark 
of Freedom went on the face of the waters, - - above 
the market, above the factory, above the court house, 
above the college, high over the tops of the tallest 
steeples, it floated secure ; for it bore the Religion 
that is to save the world, and the Lord God of Hosts 
had shut it in. 

What flattery was there from Mr. Webster! 
What flattery to the South ! what respect for 
Southern nullifiers ! " The Secessionists of the 
South take a different course of remark ; " they ap- 



f See the Speeches at Buffalo, Syracuse, and Albany, in 
Pamphlet, (New York, 1851). Speech at Capron Springs, etc., 
etc., etc. 



232 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



peal to no higher law ! " They are learned and 
eloquent ; they are animated and full of spirit ; they 
are high-minded and chivalrous ; they state then- 
supposed injuries and causes of complaint in elegant 
phrases and exalted tones of speech." * 

He derided the instructions of his adopted State. 

" It has been said that I have, by the course that I have thought 
proper to pursue, displeased a portion of the people of Massachu- 
setts. Well, suppose I did. Suppose I displeased all the people 
of that State, — what of that ? 

" What had I to do with instructions from Massachusetts upon 
a question affecting the whole nation ! " "I assure you, gentle- 
men, I cared no more for the instructions of Massachusetts than I 
did for those of any other State ! " f 

What scorn against the u fanatics " of the North, 
against the Higher Law, and the God thereof ! 

" New England, it is well known, is the chosen seat of the Abo- 
lition presses and the Abolition Societies. There it is principally 
that the former cheer the morning by full columns of lamentation 
over the fate of human beings free by nature and by a law above 
the Constitution, — but sent back, nevertheless, chained and 
manacled to slavery and to stripes ; and the latter refresh them- 
selves from daily toil by orgies of the night devoted to the same 
outpourings of philanthropy, mingling all the while their anathe- 
mas at what they call ' men-catching ' with the most horrid and 
profane abjuration of the Christian Sabbath, and indeed of the 
whole Divine Revelation : they sanctify their philanthropy by 



* Speech at Capron Springs. 



t Ibid. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



233 



irreligion and profanity ; they manifest their charity by contempt 
of God and his commandments." 

" Depend upon it, the law [the Fugitive Slave Bill] will be 
executed in its spirit and to its letter. It will be executed in all 
the great cities, — here in Syracuse, — in the midst of the next 
Anti-slavery Convention, if the occasion shall arise ; then we shall 
see what becomes of their ' lives and their sacred honor ! *" * 

How he mocked at the " higher law," " that exists 
somewhere between us and the third heaven, I never 
knew exactly where ! " 

The anti-slavery men were "insane persons," 
" some small bodies of fanatics," " not fit for a 
lunatic asylum." f 

To secure his purposes, he left no stone unturned; 
he abandoned his old friends, treating them with 
rage and insolence. He revolutionized his own 
politics and his own religion. The strong advocate 
of liberty, of justice to all men, the opponent of 
slavery, turned round to the enemy and went square 
over ! But his old speeches did not follow him : a 
speech is a fact ; a printed word becomes immovable 
as the Alps. His former speeches, set all the way 
from Hanover to Washington, were a line of for- 
tresses grim with cannon, each levelled at his new 
position. 

How low he stooped to supplicate the South, to 



* Speech at Syracuse (New York, 1851). 
f See speech at Buffalo, 22d May, 1851. Works, vol. ii. p. 544, 
et seq. 

20* 



234 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



cringe before the Catholics, to fawn upon the Metho- 
dists at Faneuil Hall ! Oh, what a prostitution of 
what a kingly power of thought, of speech, of will! 

The effect of Mr. Webster's speech on the 7th of 
March was amazing : at first Northern men ab- 
horred it ; next they accepted it. Why was this ? 
He himself has perhaps helped us understand the 
mystery : — 

" The enormity of some crimes so astonishes men as to subdue 
their minds, and they lose the desire for justice in a morbid ad- 
miration of the great criminal and the strangeness of the crime." 

Slavery, the most hideous snake which Southern 
regions breed, with fifteen unequal feet, came crawl- 
ing North ; fold on fold, and ring on ring, and coil 
on coil, the venomed monster came: then Avarice, 
the foulest worm which Northern cities gender in 
their heat, went crawling South ; with many a wrig- 
gling curl, it wound along its way. At length they 
met, and, twisting up in their obscene embrace, the 
twain became one monster, Hunkerism ; theme un- 
attempted yet in prose or song : there was no North, 
no South; they were one poison! The dragon 
wormed its way along, — crawled into the church of 
Commerce, wherein the minister baptized the beast, 
" Salvation." From the ten commandments the 
dragon's breath effaced those which forbid to kill 
and covet, with the three between ; then, with malig- 
nant tooth, gnawed out the chief commandments 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



235 



whereon the law and prophets hang. This amphis- 
baena of the Western World then swallowed down 
the holiest words of Hebrew or of Christian speech, 
and in their place it left a hissing at the Higher Law 
of God. Northward and Southward wormed the 
thing along its track, leaving the stain of its breath 
in the people's face; and its hissing against the 
Lord rings yet in many a speech : — 

"Religion, blushing, veils her sacred fires, 
And, unawares, morality expires." 

Then what a shrinking was there of great con- 
sciences, and hearts, and minds ! So Milton, fabling, 
sings of angels fallen from their first estate, seeking 
to enter Pandemonium : — 

" They but now who seemed 
In bigness to surpass Earth's giant-sons, 
Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room 

Throng numberless, 

to smallest forms 

Reduced their shapes immense, and were at large, 
Though without number still, amidst the hall 
Of that infernal court." 

Mr. Webster stamped his foot, and broke through 
into the great hollow of practical atheism, which un- 
dergulfs the State and Church. Then what a caving 
in was there ! The firm-set base of northern cities 
quaked and yawned with gaping rents. " Penn's 
sandy foundation " shook again, and black men fled 
from the city of brotherly love, as doves, with plain- 



236 



DANIEL "WEBSTER. 



tive cry, flee from a farmer's barn when summer light- 
ning stabs the roof. There was a twist in Faneuil 
Hall, and the doors could not open wide enough for 
Liberty to regain her aucient Cradle ; only soldiers, 
greedy to steal a man, themselves stole out and 
in. Ecclesiastic quicksand ran dpwn the hole 
amain. Metropolitan churches toppled, and pitched, 
and canted, and cracked, their bowing walls all 
out of plumb. Colleges, broken from the chain 
which held them in the stream of time, rushed 
towards the abysmal rent. Harvard led the way, 
" Ckristo et Ecclesicc " in her hand. Down plunged 
Andover, " Conscience and the Constitution " 
clutched in its ancient, failing arm. New Haven 
began to cave in. Doctors of Divinity, orthodox, 
heterodox with only a doxy of doubt, "no settled 
opinion," had great alacrity in sinking, and went 
down quick, as live as ever, into the pit of Korah, 
Dathan, and Abiram, the bottomless pit of lower 
law, -one with his mother, cloaked by a surplice, 
hid beneath his sinister arm, and an acknowledged 
brother grasped by his remaining limb. Fossils of 
theology, dead as Ezekiel's bones, took to their feet 
again, and stood up for most arrant wrong. " There 
is no higher law of God," quoth they, as they went 
down ; " no golden rule, only the statutes of men." 
A man with mythologic ear might fancy that he 
heard a snickering laugh run round the world below, 
snorting, whinnying, and neighing, as it echoed from 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



237 



the infernal spot pressed by the fallen monsters of 
ill-fame, who, thousands of years ago, on the same 
errand, had plunged down the self-same way. What 
tidings the echo bore, Dante nor ]\Iilton could not 
tell. Let us leave that to darkness, and to silence, 
and to death. 

But spite of all this, in every city, in every town, 
in every college, and in each capsizing church, there 
were found Faithful Men, w T ho feared not the mon- 
ster, heeded not the stamping ; — nay, some doctors 
of divinity were found living. In all their houses there 
w T as light, and the destroying angel shook them not. 
The word of the Lord came in open vision to their 
eye ; they had their lamps trimmed and burning, 
their loins girt ; they stood road-ready. Liberty and 
Religion turned in thither, and the slave found bread 
and wings. " When my father and my mother for- 
sake me, then the Lord will hold me up ! " 

After the 7th of March, Mr. Webster became the 
ally of the worst of men, the forefront of kidnapping. 
The orator of Plymouth Rock was the advocate of 
slavery ; the hero of Bunker Hill put chains around 
Boston Court House ; the applauder of Adams and 
Jefferson was a tool of the slave-holder, and a keeper 
of slavery's dogs, the associate of the kidnapper, and 
the mocker of men who loved the right. Two years 
he lived with that rabble rout for company, his name 
the boast of every vilest thing. 

" Oh, how unlike the place from -whence he fell ! " 



238 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



In early life, Mr. Hill, of New Hampshire, pursued 
him with unrelenting bitterness. Of late years Mr. 
Webster had complained of this, declaring that 
" Mr. Hill had done more than any other man to 
debauch the character of New Hampshire, bringing 
the bitterness of politics into private life." But after 
that day of St. Judas, Mr. Webster pursued the same 
course which Mr. Hill had followed forty years be- 
fore, and the two enemies were reconciled * The 
Herod of the Democrats and the Pilate of Federal- 
ism were made friends by the Fugitive Slave Bill, 
and rode in the same " Omnibus," — "a blue-light 
Federalist " and " a genuine Democrat dyed in the 
wool." 

Think of him ! — the Daniel Webster of Plymouth 
Rock advocating the " Compromise Measures ! " the 
Daniel Webster of Faneuil Hall, who once spoke with 
the inspiration of Samuel Adams and the tongue of 
James Otis, honoring the holy dead with his praise ! 
— think of him at Buffalo, Albany, Syracuse, scoff- 
ing at modern men, who " perilled their lives, their 
fortunes, and their sacred honor," to visit the father- 
less and the widows in their affliction, and to keep 
themselves unspotted from the world ! — think of 
him threatening with the gallows such as clothed 
the naked, fed the hungry, visited the prisoner, and 



* See above pp. 181-192; and the Letter of Hon. Isaac Hill 
(April 17, 1850), and Mr. Webster's Reply. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



239 



gave a cup of cold water to him that was ready to 
perish ! Think of Daniel "Webster become the as- 
sassin of Liberty in the Capitol ! Think of him, 
full of the Old Testament and dear Isaac Watts, 
scoffing at the Higher Law of God, while the moun- 
tains of Virginia looked him in the face ! 

But what was the recompense ? Ask Massachu- 
chusetts, — ask the North. Let the Baltimore Con- 
vention tell. He was the greatest candidate before 
it. General Scott is a little man when the feathers 
are gone. Fillmore, you know him. Both of these, 
for greatness of intellect, compared to Webster, were 
as a single magpie measured by an eagle. Look at 
his speeches ; look at his forehead ; look at his face ! 
The two hundred and ninety-three delegates came 
together and voted. They gave him thirty-two votes ! 
Where were the men of the " lower law," who made 
a denial of God the first principle of their politics ? 
Where were they who in Faneuil Hall scoffed and 
jeered at the " Higher Law;" or at Capron Springs, 
who " Laughed" when he mocked at the Law higher 
than the Virginia hills ? Where were the kidnappers ? 

The " lower law " men and the kidnappers strained 
themselves to the utmost, and he had thirty-two 
votes ! 

Where was the South? Fifty-three times did the 
Convention ballot, and the South never gave him a 
vote, — not a vote ; no, not one ! Northern friends — 



240 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



I honor their affection for the great man — went to the 
South, and begged for the poor and paltry pittance 
of a seeming vote, in order to break the bitterness of 
the fall ! They went " with tears in their eyes," and 
in mercy's name, they asked that crumb from the 
Southern board. But the cruel South, treacherous 
to him whom she beguiled to treason against God, 
she answered, " Not a vote ! " It was the old fate 
of men who betray. Southern politicians " did not 
dare dispense with the services thrust on him, but 
revenged themselves by withdrawing his well- 
merited reward." It was the fate of Strafford ; the 
fate of Wolsey. When Lasthenes and Euthycrates 
betrayed Olynthus to Macedonian Philip, fighting 
against the liberties of Greece, they were distin- 
guished — if Demosthenes be right — only by the 
cruelty of their fate. Mr. Webster himself had a 
forefeeling that it might be so ; for, on the morning 
of his fatal speech, he told a brother Senator, " I 
have my doubts that the speech I am going to make 
will ruin me." But he played the card with a heavy, 
a rash, a trembling, and not a skilful hand. It was 
only the playing of a card, — but his last card ! Mr. 
Calhoun had said, " The furthest Southerner is 
nearer to us than the nearest Northern man." They 
could trust him with their work, — not with its cove- 
nanted pay ! 

Oh ! Cardinal Wolsey ! there was never such a fall. 
" He fell, like Lucifer, never to hope again ! " 



DANIEL "WEBSTER. 



241 



The telegraph which brought him tidings of his 
fate was a thunder-stroke out of the clear sky. No 
wonder that he wept, and said, " I am a disgraced 
man, a ruined man ! " His early, his last, his fondest 
dream of ambition broke, and only ruin filled his 
hand ! What a spectacle ! to move pity in the 
stones of the street ! 

But it seemed as if nothing could be spared him. 
His cup of bitterness, already full, was made to run 
over; for joyous men, full of wine and the nomina- 
tion, called him up at midnight out of his bed — the 
poor, disappointed old man ! — to " congratulate him 
on the nomination of Scott ! " And they forced the 
great man, falling back on his self-respect, to say 
that the next morning he should " rise with the lark, 
as jocund and as gay." 

Was not that enough ? Oh, there is no pity in 
the hearts of men ! Even that was not enough ! 
Northern friends went to him, and asked him to 
advise men to vote for General Scott ! 

General Scott is said to be an anti-slavery man ; 
but soon as the political carpenters put the " planks "' 
together at Baltimore, he scrambled upon the plat- 
form, and stands there on all-fours to this day, look- 
ing for " fellow-citizens, native and adopted," listen- 
ing for " that rich brogue," and declaring that, after 
all, he is " only a common man." Did you ever read' 
General Scott's speeches ? Then think of asking 
Daniel Webster to recommend him for President, — 

vol. i. 21 



242 



DAXIEL WEBSTER. 



Scott in the chair, and Webster out! That was 
gall after the wormwood ! They say that Mr. 
"Webster did WTite a letter advocating the election 
of Scott, and afterwards said, " I still live." If he 
did so, attribute it to the wanderings of a great 
mind, shattered by sickness ; and be assured he 
would have taken it back, if he had ever set his firm 
foot on the ground again ! 

Daniel Webster went dow r n to Marshfield — to 
die ! He died of his 7th of March speech ! That 
word indorsed on Mason's Bill drove thousands of 
fugitives from America to Canada. It put chains 
round our court house ; it led men to violate the 
majesty of law all over the North. I violated it, 
and so did you. It sent Thomas Sims in fetters to 
his jail and his scourging at Savannah ; it caused 
practical atheism to be preached in many churches 
of New York, Philadelphia, Washington ; and, 
worst of all, in Boston itself! and then, with its own 
recoil, it sent Daniel Webster to his grave, giving 
him such a reputation as a man would not wish for 
his utterest foe. 

No event in the American Revolution was half so 
terrible as his speeches in defence of slavery and kid- 
napping, his abrogation of the right to discuss all 
measures of the government. We lost battles again 
and again, lost campaigns — our honor we never 
lost. The army w r as without powder at Cambridge, 
in '76 ; without shoes and blankets in '78 ; and the 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



243 



bare feet of New England valor marked the ice with 
blood when they crossed the Delaware. But we 
were never without conscience ; never without mo- 
rality. Powder might fail, and shoes drop, old and 
rotten, from soldiers' feet. But the love of God 
was in the American heart, and no American gen- 
eral said, " There is no law higher than the Blue 
Ridge! " Nay, they appealed to God's Higher Law, 
not thinking that in politics religion " makes men 
mad." 

While the Philip of slavery was thundering at our 
gate, the American Demosthenes advised us to " con- 
quer our prejudices " against letting him in ; to 
throw down the wall " with alacrity," and bid him 
come : it was a " constitutional " Philip. How silver 
dims the edge of steel ! When the tongue of free- 
dom was cut out of the mouth of Europe by the 
sabres of tyrants, and only in the British Isles and in 
Saxon speech could liberty be said or sung, the 
greatest orator who ever spoke the language of Mil- 
ton and Burke told us to suppress discussion ! In 
the dark and troubled night of American politics, 
our tallest Pharo on the shore hung out a false 
beacon. 

Once Mr. Webster said, " There will always be 
some perverse minds who will vote the wrong way, 
let the justice of the case be ever so apparent." * 



* "Columbian Centinel," March 11, 1820. 



244 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



Did he know what he was doing ? Too well. In 
the winter of 1850, he partially prepared a speech in 
defence of freedom. Was his own amendment to 
Mason's Bill designed to be its text ? * Some say- 
so. I know not. He wrote to an intimate and sa- 
gacious friend in Boston, asking, How far can I go 
in defence of freedom, and have Massachusetts sus- 
tain me ? The friend repaid the confidence and said, 
Far as you like ! Mr. Webster went as far as New 
Orleans, as far as Texas and the Del Norte, in sup- 
port of slavery ! When that speech came, — the 
rawest wind of March, — the friend declared: It sel- 
dom happens to any man to be able to disgrace the 
generation he is born in. But the opportunity has 
presented itself to Mr. Webster, and he has done 
the deed! 

Cardinal Wolsey fell, and lost nothing but his 
place. Bacon fell ; the " wisest, brightest," lived 
long enough to prove himself the " meanest of man- 
kind." Strafford came down. But it was nothing 
to the fall of Webster. The Anglo-Saxon race never 
knew such a terrible and calamitous ruin. His down- 
fall shook the continent. Truth fell prostrate in the 
street. Since then, the court house has a twist in 
its walls, and equity cannot enter its door ; the stee- 



* Works, vol. v. p. 373-4. See too, Speech at Buffalo (in 
Pamphlet), p. 17. He proposed to have "a summary trial by 
Jury!" 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



245 



pies point awry, and the " Higher Law " is hurled 
down from the pulpit. One priest would enslave all 
the " posterity of Ham," and another would drive a 
fugitive from his own door ; a third became certain 
that Paul was a kidnapper; and a fourth had the 
" assurance of consciousness that Christ Jesus would 
have sold and bought slaves ! " Practical atheism be- 
came common in the pulpits of America ; they for- 
got that there was a God. In the hard winter of 
1780, if Fayette had copied Arnold, and Washing- 
ton gone over to the enemy, the fall could not have 
been worse. Benedict Arnold fell, but fell through, 
— so low that no man quotes him for precedent. 
Aaron Burr is only a warning. Webster fell, and 
he lay there " not less than archangel ruined," and 
enticed the nation in his fall. Shame on us ! — all 
those three are of New England blood ! Webster, 
Arnold, Burr! 

My friends, it is hard for me to say these things. 
My mother's love is warm in my own bosom still, 
and I hate to say such words. But God is just; 
and, in the presence of God, I stand here to tell the 
truth. 

Did men honor Daniel Webster ? So did I. I 
was a boy ten years old when he stood at Plymouth 
Rock, and never shall I forget how his clarion-words 
rang in my boyish heart. I was but a little boy 
when he spoke those brave words in behalf of 
21* 



•246 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



Greece. I was helped to hate slavery by the lips of 
that great intellect : and now that he takes back his 
words, and comes himself to be Slavery's slave, I 
hate it tenfold harder than before, because it made a 
bondman out of that proud, powerful nature. 

Did men love him ? So did I. Xot blindly, but 
as I loved a £rreat mind, as the defender of the Con- 
stitution and the Unalienable Rights of Man. 

Sober and religious men of Boston yet mourn 
that their brothers were kidnapped in the city of 
Hancock and Adams — it was Daniel Webster who 
kidnapped them. Massachusetts has wept at the 
deep iniquity which was wrought in her capital — it 
was done by the man whom she welcomed to her 
bosom, and long had loved to honor. Let history, as 

" Sad as angels at the good man's sin, 
Blush to record, and weep to give it in ! " 

Do men mourn for him ? See how they mourn ! 
The streets are hung with black. The newspapers 
are sad colored. The shops are put in mourning. 
The Mayor and Aldermen wear crape. Wherever 
his death is made known, the public business stops, 
and flags drop half-mast down. The courts adjourn. 
The courts of Massachusetts — at Boston, at Ded- 
ham, at Lowell, all adjourn ; the courts of New 
Hampshire, of Maine, of New York ; even at Balti- 
more and Washington, the courts adjourn; for the 
.great lawyer is dead, and Justice must wait another 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



247 



dav. Only the United States Court, in Boston, try- 
ing a man for helping Shadraeh out of the furnace 
of the kidnappers, — the court which executes the 
Fugitive Slave Bill, — that does not adjourn; that 
keeps on ; its worm dies not, and the fire of its per- 
secution is not quenched, when death puts out the 
lamp of life! Injustice is hungry for its prey, and 
must not be balked. It was very proper ! Symboli- 
cal court of the Fugitive Slave Bill — it does not 
respect life, why should it death ? and, scorning lib- 
erty, why should it heed decorum ? Did the judges 
deem that Webster's spirit, on its way to God, would 
look at Plymouth Rock, then pause on the spots 
made more classic by his eloquence, and gaze at 
Bunker Hill, and tarry his hour in the august com- 
pany of noble men at Faneuil Hall, and be glad to 
know that injustice was chanting his requiem in that 
court? They greatly misjudge the man. I know 
Daniel Webster better, and I appeal for him against 
his idly judging friends.* 

Do men now mourn for him, the great man elo- 



* I am told that there was some technical reason why that court 
continued its session. I know nothing of the motive ; but I be- 
lieve it was the fact that the only court in the United States which 
did not adjourn at the intelligence of the death of Mr. Webster, 
was the court which was seeking to punish a man for rescuing 
Shadraeh from the fiery furnace made ready for him. Here is the 
item, from the Boston Atlas for Tuesday. Oct. 26, 1851, " Elizur 
Wright being on trial [for alleged aiding in the attempt to rescue 
Shadraeh] the court continued its session ! " 



248 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



quent ? I put on sackcloth long ago ; I mourned for 
him when he wrote the Creole letter, which surprised 
Ashburton, Briton that he was. I mourned when 
he spoke the speech of the 7th of March. I mourned 
when the Fugitive Slave Bill passed Congress, and 
the same cannons which have just fired minute-guns 
for him fired also one hundred rounds of joy at the 
forging of a new fetter for the fugitive's foot. I 
mourned for him when the kidnappers first came to 
Boston, — hated then, now " respectable men," " the 
companions of princes," enlarging their testimony 
in the court. I mourned when my own parishioners 
fled from the " stripes " of New England to the 
" stars " of Old England. I mourned when Ellen 
Craft fled to my house for shelter and for succor, and 
for the first time in all my life I armed this hand. I 
mourned when I married William and Ellen Craft, 
and gave them a Bible for their soul, and a Sword to 
keep that soul living in a living frame. I mourned 
when the court house was hung in chains; when 
Thomas Sims, from his dungeon, sent out his peti- 
tion for prayers, and the churches did not dare to 
pray. I mourned when that poor outcast in yonder 
dungeon sent for me to visit him, and when I took 
him by the hand which Daniel Webster was chain- 
ing in that hour. I mourned for Webster when we 
prayed our prayer and sang our psalm on Long 
Wharf in the morning's gray. I mourned then : I 
shall not cease to mourn. The flags will be removed 



DAXIEL "WEBSTER- 



249 



from the streets, the cannon will sound their other 
notes of joy; but, for me, I shall go mourning all 
my days ; I shall refuse to be comforted ; and at last 
I shall lay down my gray hairs with weeping and 
with sorrow in the grave. O Webster ! Webster ! 
would God that I had died for thee ! 

He was a powerful man physically, a man of a 
large mould, — a great body and a great brain:* he 
seemed made to last a hundred years. Since Soc- 
rates, there has seldom been a head so massive huge, 
save the stormy features of Michael Angelo, — 

u The hand that roanded Peter's dome. 
And groined the aisles of Christian Rome ; " 

he who sculptured Day and Night into such ma- 
jestic forms, — looked them in his face before he 
chiselled them in stone. The cubic capacity of his 
head surpassed nearly all former measurements of 
mind. Since Charlemagne, I think there has not 
been such a grand figure in all Christendom. A 
large man, decorous in dress, dignified in deportment, 
he walked as if he felt himself a king. Men from 
the country, who knew him not, stared at him as he 
passed through our streets. The coal-heavers and 
porters of London looked on him as one of the great 



* See Dr. Jeffries* account of the last illness of the late Daniel 
Webster, etc. (PhiL, 1S53), p. 17. 



250 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



forces of the globe. They recognized a native king. 
In the Senate of the United States, he looked an 
emperor in that council. Even the majestic Calhoun 
seemed common, compared with him. Clay looked 
vulgar, and Van Buren but a fox. His countenance, 
like Strafford's, was " manly black." His mind — 

" Was lodged in a fair and lofty room. 

On his brow 
Sat terror, mixed with wisdom ; and, at once, 
Saturn and Hermes in his countenance." 

What a mouth he had ! It was a lion's mouth. Yet 
there was a sweet grandeur in his smile, and a 
woman's softness wiien he would. What a brow it 
was ! what eyes ! like charcoal fires in the bottom of 
a deep, dark well ! His face w^as rugged with vol- 
canic flames, — great passions and great thoughts. 

" The front of Jove himself; 
An eye like Mars to threaten and command." 

Let me examine the elements of Mr. W r ebster's 
character in some detail. Divide the faculties, not 
bodily, into intellectual, moral, affectional, and relig- 
ious, and see what he had of each, beginning w T ith 
the highest. 

I. His latter life shows that he had no large devel- 
opment of the Religious Powers, which join men 
consciously to the infinite God. He had little 
religion in the higher meaning of that word : much in 
the lower, — he had the conventional form of religion, 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



251 



the formality of outward and visible prayer ; rev- 
erence for the Bible and the name of Christ ; attend- 
ance at meeting on Sundays and at the " ordinances 
of religion." He w 7 as a " devout man," in the 
ecclesiastic sense of the word. But it is easy to be 
devout, hard to be moral. Of the two men, in the 
parable, who " w^ent up to the temple to pray," only 
the Pharisee was "devout" in the common sense. 
Devoutness took the Priest and the Levite to the 
temple : morality led the good Samaritan to the 
man fallen among thieves. 

His reputation for religion seems to rest on these 
facts, — that he read the Bible, and knew more 
passages from it than most political editors, more 
than some clergymen ; he thought Job " a great epic 
poem," and quoted Habakkuk by rote ; — that he 
knew many hymns by heart ; attended what is called 
" divine service ; " agreed with a New Hampshire 
divine " in all the doctrines of a Christian life ; " 
and, in the " Girard case," praised the popular the- 
ology, with the ministers thereof, — the latter as 
" appointed by the Author of the Christian religion 
himself." 

He seems by nature to have had a religious turn 
of mind ; w r as full of devout and reverential feelings ; 
took a deep delight in religious emotions ; was fond 
of religious books of a sentimental cast ; loved 
Watts's tender and delicious hymns, with the 
devotional parts of the Bible ; his memory was 



252 DANIEL WEBSTER. 

stored with the poetry of hymn-books ; he was fond 
of attendance at meeting. He had no particle of re- 
ligious bigotry ; joining an Orthodox Church at 
Boscawen, an Episcopal at Washington," a Unita- 
rian at Boston, and attending religious services with- 
out much regard for the theology of the minister. 
He loved religious forms, and could not see a child 
baptized without dropping a tear. Psalms and 
hymns also brought the woman into those great 
eyes. He was never known to swear, or use any 
profanity of speech.* Considering the habits of his 
political company, that is a fact worth notice. But 
I do not find that his religious emotions had any 
influence on his latter life, either public or private. 
He read religion out of politics with haughty scorn, 
— " It makes men mad ! " It appeared neither to 
check him from ill, nor urge to good. Though he said 
he loved " to have religion made a personal matter," 
he forsook the church which made it personal in the 
form of temperance. His " religious character " was 
what the churches of Commerce tend to form, and 
love to praise, f 

II. Of the Affections he was well provided by 
nature, though they were but little cultivated, — 
attachable to a few who knew him, and loved him 



* So I preached and printed in 1852 and 1853. But the state- 
ment is also a mistake. 

f I think no American had ever so many Eulogies in print. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



253 



tenderly ; and, if he hated like a giant, he loved also 
like a king. 

He had small respect for the mass of men, — a 
contempt for the judgment and the feelings of the 
millions who make up the people. Many women 
loved him ; some from pure affection, others fasci- 
nated and overborne by the immense masculineness 
of the man. Some are still left who knew him in 
early life, before political ambition set its mark on 
his forehead, and drove him forth into the world: 
they love him with the tenderest of woman's affec- 
tion. This is no small praise. In his earlier life he 
was fond of children, loved their prattle and their 
play. They, too, were fond of him, came to him as 
dust of iron to a loadstone, climbed on his back, or, 
when he lay down, lay on his limbs and also slept. 

Of unimpassioned and unrelated love, there are 
two modes, — friendship for a few ; philanthropy for 
all. Friendship he surely had, especially in earlier 
life. All along the shore, men loved him; men in 
Boston loved him to the last ; Washington held 
loving hearts which worshipped him. But, of late 
years, he turned round to smite and crush his early 
friends who kept the Higher Law; ambition tore 
the friendship out of him, and he became unkind 
and cruel. The companions of his later years were 
chiefly low men, with large animal appetites, ser- 
vants of his body's baser parts, or tide-waiters of his 
ambition, — vulgar men in Boston and New York, 

vol. i. 22 



^254 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



who lurk in the habitations of cruelty, whereof the 
dark places of the earth are full, seeking to enslave 
their -brother-men. These barnacles clove to the 
great man's unprotected parts, and hastened his 
decay. When kidnappers made their loathsome 
lair of his bosom, what was his friendship worth ? 

Of Philanthropy, I claim not much for him. The 
noble plea for Greece is the most I can put in for 
argument. He cared little for the poor ; charity sel- 
dom invaded his open purse ; he trod down the 
poorest and most friendless of perishing men. His 
name was never connected with the humanities of 
the age. Soon as the American Government 
seemed fixed on the side of cruelty, he marched all 
his dreadful artillery over, and levelled his breaching 
cannons against men ready to perish without his 
shot. In later years, his face was the visage of a 
tyrant. 

III. Of Conscience it seemed to me he had little ; 
in his later life, exceeding little : his moral sense 
seemed long besotted; almost, though not wholly, 
gone. Hence, though he was often generous, he was 
seldom just. Free to give as to grasp, he was lavish 
by instinct, not charitable on principle. 

He had little courage, and rarely spoke a Northern 
word to a Southern audience, save his official words 
in Congress. In Charleston he was the "school- 
master that gives us no lessons." He quailed before 
the Southern men who would " dissolve the Union," 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



255 



when he stood before their eye. They were " high- 
minded and chivalrous : " it was only the non-resist- 
ants of the North he meant to ban ! 

He was indeed eminently selfish, joining the 
instinctive egotism of passion with the self-con- 
scious, voluntary, deliberate, calculating egotism of 
ambition. He borrowed money of rich young men 
— ay, and of poor ones — in the generosity of their 
youth, and never repaid. He sought to make his 
colleagues in office the tools of his ambition, and 
that failing, pursued them with the intensest hate. 
Thus he sought to ruin the venerable John Quincy 
Adams, when the President became a Representa- 
tive. By secret hands he scattered circulars in Mr. 
Adams's district to work his overthrow ; got other 
men to oppose him. With different men he suc- 
ceeded better. He used his party as he used his 
friends, — for tools. He coquetted with the Demo- 
crats in '42, with the Free-Soilers in '48; but, the 
suit miscarrying, turned to the Slave Power in '50, 
and negotiated an espousal which was cruelly broken 
off in '52. Men, parties, the law* and the nation, he 
did not hesitate to sacrifice to the colossal selfishness 
of his egotistic ambition. 

His strength lay not in the religious, nor in the 
affectional, nor in the moral part of man. 

IV. But his Intellect was immense. His power 



* Leges invalidae prius ; imo nocere coact£e. 



256 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



of comprehension was vast. He methodized swiftly. 
If you look at the varieties of intellectual action, you 
may distribute them into three great modes ; the 
Understanding, the Imagination, and the Reason ; — 
the Understanding dealing with details and methods, 
the practical power ; Imagination, with beauty, "the 
power to create; Reason, with first principles and 
universal laws, the philosophic power. 

We must deny to Mr. Webster the great Reason. 
He does not belong at all with the chief men of that 
department, — with Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Leib- 
nitz, Newton, Des Cartes, and the other mighties. 
Nay, he has no place with humbler men of reason, 
with common philosophers. He had no philosophical 
system of politics, few philosophical ideas of politics, 
whereof to make a system. He seldom grasps a 
universal law. His measures of expediency for to- 
day are seldom bottomed on universal principles of 
right, which last for ever. 

I cannot assign to him large Imagination. He 
was not creative of new forms of thought or of 
beauty ; so he lacks the poetic charm which gladdens 
in the loftiest eloquence. 

But his Understanding was exceedingly great. 
He acquired readily and retained well ; arranged 
with ease and skill, and fluently reproduced. As a 
scholar, he passed for learned in the American Sen- 
ate, where scholars are few ; for a universal man, 
with editors of political and commercial prints. But 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



257 



his learning was narrow in its range, and not very 
nice in its accuracy. His reach in history and litera- 
ture was very small for a man seventy years of age, 
always associating with able men. To science he 
seems to have paid scarce any attention at all. It 
is a short radius that measures the arc of his historic 
realm. A few Latin authors, whom he loved to quote, 
made up his meagre classic store. He was not a 
scholar, and it is idle to claim great or careful scholar- 
ship for him. Compare him with the prominent 
statesmen of Europe, or with the popular orators of 
England, you see continually the narrow range of 
his culture. 

As a statesman, his lack of what I call the higher 
Reason and Imagination continually appears. He 
invented nothing. To the national stock he added 
no new idea, created out of new thought : no new 
maxim, formed by induction out of human history 
and old thought. The great ideas of the time were 
not borne in his bosom. 

He organized nothing. There were great ideas of 
immense practical value seeking lodgement in a 
body : he aided them not. None of the great meas- 
ures of our time were his — not one of them. His 
best bill was the Specie Bill of 1815, which caused 
payments to be made in national currency. 

His lack of Conscience is painfully evident. As 
Secretary of State, he did not administer eminently 
w^ell. When Secretary of State under Air. Tyler, 

22* 



\ 



258 



DAXIEL WEBSTER. 



he knew how to be unjust to poor, maltreated Mex- 
ico. His letters in reply to the just complaints of 
Mr. Bocanegra, the Mexican Secretary of State, are 
painful to read : it is the old story of the Wolf and 
the Lamb.* 

The appointments made under his administration 
had better not be looked at too closely. The affairs 
of Cuba last year and this, the affairs of the Fisher- 
ies and the Lobos Islands, are little to his credit. 

He was sometimes ignorant of the affairs he had 
to treat ; he neglected the public business, — left 
grave matters all unattended to. Nay, he did worse. 
Early in August last, Mr. LawTence had an inter- 
view^ with the British Foreign Secretary, in w r hich 
explanations were made calculated to remove all 
anxiety as to the Fishery Question. He wrote a pa- 
per detailing the result of the interview. It was de- 
signed to be communicated to the American Senate. 
Mr. LawTence sent it to Mr. Webster. It reached 
the Department at Washington on the 24th of Au- 
gust. But Mr. Webster did not communicate it to 
the Senate ; even the President knew nothing of its 
existence till after the Secretary's death. Now, it is 
not " compatible with the public interest to publish 
it," as its production would reveal the negligence of 

* See these letters — to Mr. Thompson, Works, vol. vi. p. 445, 
et seq.: and those of Mr. Bocanegra to Mr. Webster, p. 442, et 
seq. 457, et seq. How different is the tone of America to powerful 
England ! Whom men wrong they hate. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



259 



the Department.* You remember the letter he pub- 
lished on his own account relating to the Fisheries ! f 
No man, it was said, could get office under his ad- 
ministration, " unless bathed in negro's blood : " sup- 
port of the Fugitive Slave Bill, " like the path of 
righteous devotion, led to a blessed preferment/' 

Lacking both moral principle and intellectual 
ideas, political ethics and political economy, it must 
needs be that his course in politics was crooked. He 
opposed the Mexican w r ar, but invested a son in it, 
and praised the soldiers who fought therein, as sur- 
passing our fathers who "stood behind bulwarks on 
Bunker Hill " ! He called on the nation to uphold the 
stars of America on the fields of Mexico, though he 
knew it was the stripes that they held up. Now he 
is for free trade, then for protection ; now for specie, 
then for bills ; first for a bank, then it is " an obso- 
lete idea;" now for freedom and against slavery, 
then for slavery and against freedom ; now Justice 
is the object of government, now Money. Now 
what makes men Christians makes them good citi- 
zens ; next, religion is good " everywhere but in pol- 
itics, — there it makes men mad." Now religion is 



* The Letter was read in the secret session of the Senate, 
March 8, 1853, and published in Senate Doc, Special Sess., Xo. 
4, p. 2. See also Lord Malinesburv's letter to Mr. Crampton, 
(Aug. 10, 1852.) Id. p. 6-8 ; see too p. 9. 

f July 20, 1852. 



260 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



the only ground of government, and all conscience 
is to be respected ; next, there is no Law higher than 
the " Omnibus," and he hoots at conscience, and 
would not re enact the Law of God. 

He began his career as the friend of free trade and 
hard money; he would restrict the government to 
the strait line of the Constitution rigidly defined ; he 
would resist the Bank, the protective tariff, the ex- 
tension of slavery, they exceeded the limits of the 
Constitution : he became the pensioned advocate of 
restricted trade and of paper-money ; he interpreted 
the Constitution to oppress the several States and 
the citizens ; brought the force of the government 
against private right, and lent all his might to the 
extension of slavery. Once he stood out boldly for 
the right of all men " to canvass public measures and 
the merits of public men ; " then he tells us that dis- 
cussion " must be suppressed " ! Several years ago, 
he called a private meeting of the principal manufac- 
turers of Boston, and advised them to abandon the 
protective tariff; but they would not, and so he de- 
fended it as w T armly as ever ! His course was 
crooked as the Missouri. The Duke of Wellington 
and Sir Robert Peel were, like him, without a philo- 
sophical scheme of political conduct, or any great 
ideas whereby to shape the future into fairer forms ; 
but the principle of duty was the thread which joined 
all parts of their public ministration. Thereon each 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



261 



strung his victories. But selfish egotism is the only 
continuous thread I find thus running through the 
crooked life of the famous American. 

With such a lack of ideas and of honesty, with a 
dread of taking the responsibility in advance of pub- 
lic opinion, lacking confidence in the people, and 
confidence in himself, he did not readily understand 
the public opinion on which he depended. He 
thought himself " a favorite with the people," — 

sure of election if nominated ; n it was M only the 
politicians ? ' who stood between him and the nation. 
He thought the Fugitive Slave Bill would be popular 
in the North ; that it could be executed in Syracuse ; 
and Massachusetts would conquer her prejudices 
with alacrity ! 

He had little value as a permanent guide : he 
changed often, but at the unlucky moment. He 
tacked and wore ship many a time in his life, always 
in bad weather, and never came round but he fell off 
from the popular wind. Perseverance makes the 
saints : he always forsook his idea just as that was 
about to make its fortune. In his voyaging for the 
Presidency, he was always too late for the tide ; em- 
barked on the ebb. and was left as the stream run 
dry. The Fugitive Slave Bill has done the South 
no good, save to reveal the secrets of her prison- 
house, the Cabin of Uncle Tom. and make the Xorth 
hate slavery with a tenfold hate. So far has he 



262 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



" Websterized" the Whig party, he has done so to 
its rain. 

He was a great advocate, a great orator : it is said, 
the greatest in the land, — and I do not doubt that 
this was true. Surely he was immensely great. 
"When he spoke, he was a grand spectacle. His 
noble form, so dignified and masculine ; his massive 
head ; the mighty brow, Olympian in its majesty ; 
the great, deep, dark eye, which, like a lion's, seemed 
fixed on objects afar off, looking beyond what lay in 
easy range ; the mouth so full of strength and deter- 
mination, — these all became the instruments of such 
eloquence as few men ever hear. He magnetized 
men by his presence ; he subdued them by his will 
more than by his argument. Many have surpassed 
him in written words ; for he could not embody the 
sunshine in such flowers of thought as Burke, Mil- 
ton, and Cicero wrought into mosaic oratory. But, 
since the great Athenians, Demosthenes and Pericles, 
who ever thundered out such spoken eloquence as 
he? 

Yet he has left no perfect specimen of a great 
oration. He had not the instinctive genius which 
creates a beautiful whole by nature, as a mother 
bears a living son ; nor the wide knowledge, the deep 
philosophy, the plastic industry, which forms a beau- 
tiful w^hole by art, as a sculptor chisels a marble boy. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



263 



So his greatest and most deliberate efforts of oratory- 
will not bear comparison with the great eloquence of 
nature that is born, nor the great eloquence of art 
which is made. Compared therewith, his mighty 
works are as Hercules compared with Apollo. It is 
an old world, and excellence in oratory is difficult. 
Yet he has sentences and paragraphs that I think 
unsurpassed and unequalled, and I do not see how 
they can ever fade. He was not a Nile of eloquence, 
cascading into poetic beauty now, then watering 
whole provinces with the drainage of tropic moun- 
tains : he was a Niagara, pouring a world of clear 
waters adown a single ledge. 

His style was simple, the business-style of a strong 
man. Now and then it swelled into beauty, though 
it was often dull. In later years, he seldom touched 
the conscience, the affections, or the soul, except, 
alas! to smite our sense of justice, our philanthropy, 
and trust in God. He always addressed the under- 
standing, not the reason, — Calhoun did that the 
more, — not the imagination : in his speech there 
was little wit, little beauty, little poetry. He laid 
siege to the understanding. Here lay his strength — 
he could make a statement better than any man in 
America ; had immense power of argumentation, 
building a causeway from his will to the hearer's 
mind. He was skilful in devising " middle terms," 
in making steps whereby to lead the audience to his 



264 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



determination. No man managed the elements of 
his argument with more practical effect. 

Perhaps he did this better when contending for a 
wrong, than when battling for the right. His most 
ingenious arguments are pleas for injustice.* Part 
of the effect came from the physical bulk of the 
man ; part from the bulk of will, which marked all 
his speech, and writing too ; but much from his 
power of statement. He gathered a great mass of 
materia], bound it together, swung it about his head, 
fixed his eye on the mark, then let the ruin fly. If 
you want a word suddenly shot from Dover to 
Calais, you send it by lightning ; if a ball of a ton 
weight, you get a steam-cannon to pitch it across. 
Webster was the steam-gun of eloquence. He hit 
the mark less by skill than strength. His shot 
seemed big as his target.f 

There is a great difference in the weapons which 
speakers use. This orator brings down his quarry 
with a single subtle shot, of sixty to the pound. He 



* See examples of this in the Creole letter, and that to Mr. 
Thompson (Works, vol. vi.), and in many a speech ; — especially 
in defence of the Fugitive Slave Bill and Kidnapping. 

f " Tu quoque, Piso, 

Judicis affectum, possessaque pectora ducis 
Victor ; sponte sua sequitur, quocunque vocasti : 
Et te dante capit judex, quam non habet iram." 
Pseudo Lucanus ad Calpurnium Pisonem, Poemationum, v. 44, et seq. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



265 



carries death without weight in his gun, as sure as 
fate. 

Here is another, the tin-pedlar of American speech. 
He is a snake in the grass, slippery, shining, with a 
baleful crest on his head, cunning in his crazy eye, 
and the poison of the old serpent in his heart, and 
on his slimy jaw, and about the fang at the bottom 
of his smooth and forked and nimble tongue. He 
conquers by bewitching ; he fascinates his game to 
death. 

Commonly, Mr. Webster was open and honest in 
his oratory. He had no masked batteries, no Quaker 
guns. He had " that rapid and vehement declama- 
tion which fixes the hearers attention on the subject, 
making the speaker forgotten, and leaving his art 
concealed.*' He wheeled his forces into line, column 
after column, with the quickness of Hannibal and 
the masterly arrangement of Caesar, and, like Xapo- 
leon, broke the centre of his opponent's line by the 
superior weight of his own column and the sudden 
heaviness of his fire. Thus he laid siege to the 
understanding, and earned it by dint of cannonade. 
This was his strategy, in the court house, in the 
senate, and in the public hall. There were no 
ambuscades, no pitfalls, or treacherous Indian sub- 
tlety. It was the tactics of a great and naturally 
honest-minded man. 

In his oratory there was but one trick, — that 
of self-depreciation. This came on him in his later 

vol. i. 23 



266 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



years, and it always failed. He was too big to 
make any one believe he thought himself little ; so 
obviously proud, we knew he valued his services 
high when he rated them so low. That comprehen- 
sive eye could not overlook so great an object as 
himself. He was not organized to cheat, to deceive ; 
and did not prosper when he tried. 'T is ill the lion 
apes the fox. 

He was ambitious. Cardinal Wolsey's " un- 
bounded stomach " was also the stomach of Web- 
ster. Yet his ambition mostly failed. In forty 
years of public life, he rose no higher than Secretary 
of State ; and held that post but five years. He 
was continually outgeneralled by subtler men. He 
had little political foresight : for he had not the all- 
conquering religion which meekly executes the Law 
of God, fearless of its consequence ; nor yet the 
wide Philanthropy, the deep sympathy with all that 
is human, which gives a man the public heart, and 
so the control of the issues of life, which thence pro- 
ceed ; nor the great Justice which sees the everlast- 
ing right, and journeys thitherward through good or 
ill ; nor the mighty Reason, which, reflecting, beholds 
the principles of human nature, the constant mode of 
operation of the forces of God in the forms of men ; 
nor the poetic Imagination, which in its political 
sphere creates great schemes of law : and hence he 
was not popular. 

He longed for the Presidency ; but Harrison kept 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



267 



him from the nomination in '40, Clay in '44, Taylor 
in '48, and Scott in '52. He never had a wide and 
original influence in the politics of the nation ; for 
he had no elemental thunder of his own — the 
Tariff was Mr. Calhoun's at first ; the Force Bill 
was from another hand ; the Fugitive Slave Bill was 
Mr. Mason's ; " the Omnibus " had many fathers, 
whereof Webster was not one. He was not a blood- 
relation to any of the great measures, — to free-trade 
or protection, to paper-money or hard coin, to free- 
dom or slavery; he was of their kindred only by 
adoption. He has been on all sides of most ques- 
tions, save on the winning side. 

In the case of the Fugitive Slave Bill, he stood 
betwixt the living and the dead, and blessed the 
plague. But, even here, he faltered when he came 
North again, — " The South will get no concessions 
from me." Mr. Webster commended the first draught 
of the Fugitive Slave Bill, with Mr. Mason's 
amendments thereto, volunteering his support thereof 
" to the fullest extent." But he afterwards and 
repeatedly declared, " The Fugitive Slave Bill was 
not such a measure as I had prepared before I left 
the Senate, and which I should have supported if I 
had remained in the Senate." * "I was of opinion," 



* Mr. Webster's letter to the Union Committee. Works, vol. 
vi. p. 578 ; et al. 



268 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



he said, " that a summary trial by jury might be had, 
which would satisfy the prejudices of the people, and 
produce no harm to those who claimed the services 
of fugitives." * Nay, he went so far as to introduce 
a bill to the Senate providing a trial by jury for all 
fugitives claiming a trial for their freedom.! He 
thought the whole business of delivering up such as 
owed service or labor, belonged to the State whither 
the fugitive fled, and not to the general government.^ 
Of course he must have considered it constitutional 
and expedient to secure for the fugitive a trial before 
an impartial jury of " twelve good and lawful men," 
who should pass upon the whole matter at issue. 
But, with that conviction, and with that bill ready 
drafted, as he says, in his desk, he could volunteer 
his support to one which took away from the States 
all jurisdiction in the matter, and from the fugitive 
all " due process of law," all trial by jury, and left 
him in the hands of a creature of the court, who was 
to be paid twice as much for enslaving his victim as 
for acquitting a man ! § 

He had almost no self-reliant independence of 



* Speech at Buffalo, (New York, 1851,) p. 17. 
f See it in Works, vol. v. p. 373-4. 

% Ibid. p. 354. But yet he affirmed the constitutionality of the 
Fugitive Slave Bill, -which gave the business to the federal gov- 
ernment. See Works, vol. vi. p. 551, et seq. Speeches at Buf- 
falo, etc. 

§ See Speech at Syracuse, p. 36. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



269 



character. It was his surroundings, not his will, that 
shaped his course, — " driven by the wind and 
tossed." 

Mr. Webster's political career began with gener- 
ous promise. He contended for the rights of the 
people against the government, of the minority 
against the majority ; he defended the right of each 
man to discuss all public measures, and the conduct 
of public men; he wished commerce to be unre- 
stricted, payments to be made in hard coin. He 
spoke noble words against oppression, — the despot- 
ism of the " Holy Alliance " in Europe, the cruelty 
of the Slave-Trade in America. Generously and 
nobly he contended against the extension of slavery 
beyond the Mississippi. Not philanthropic by in- 
stinct or moral principle, averse to democratic insti- 
tutions both by nature and conviction, he yet, by 
instinctive generosity, hated tyranny, hated injustice, 
hated despotism. He appealed to moral power 
against physical force. He sympathized with the 
republics of South America. His great powers tak- 
ing such a direction certainly promised a brilliant 
future, large services for mankind. But, alas ! he fell 
on evil times : who ever fell on any other ? He was 
intensely ambitious ; not ambitious to serve man- 
kind, but to hold office, have power and fame. Is 
this the " last infirmity of noble mind ? n It was not 
a very noble object he proposed as the end of his 
life ; the means to it became successively more and 

23* 



270 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



more unworthy. " Ye cannot serve God and 
mammon." 

For some years, no large body of men has had 
much trust in him, — admiration, but not confidence. 
In Massachusetts, off the pavements, for the last 
three years, he has had but little power. After the 
speech of March 7th, he said, " I will be maintained 
in Massachusetts." Massachusetts said No ! Only 
in the cities that bought him was he omnipotent. 
Even the South would not trust him. Gen. Jackson 
was the most popular man of our time; Calhoun 
was a favorite throughout the South ; Clay, in all 
quarters of the land ; and, at this day, Seward 
wields the forces of the Whigs. With all his talent, 
Webster never had the influence on America of the 
least of these. 

Yet Daniel Webster had many popular qualities. 
He loved out-door and manly sports, — boating, fish- 
ing, fowling. He was fond of nature, loving New 
Hampshire's mountain scenery. He had started 
small and poor, had risen great and high, and honor- 
ably had fought his way alone. He rose early in 
the morning. He loved gardening, "the purest of 
human pleasures." He was a farmer, and took a 
countryman's delight in country things, — in loads of 
hay, in trees, in turnips, and the noble Indian corn, 
in monstrous swine. He had a patriarch's love of 
sheep, — choice breeds thereof he had. He took 
delight in cows, — short-homed Durhams, Hereford- 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



271 



shires, Ayrshires, Alderneys. He tilled paternal 
acres with his own oxen. He loved to give the kine 
fodder. It was pleasant to hear his talk of oxen. 
And but three days before he left the earth ; too ill 
to visit them, his cattle, lowing, came to see their 
sick lord ; and, as he stood in his door, his great 
oxen w^ere driven up, that he might smell their 
healthy breath, and look his last on those broad, gen- 
erous faces, that were never false to him. 

He loved birds, and would not have them shot on 
his premises ; and so his farm twittered all over with 
their " sw T eet jargonings." Though in public his 
dress was more uniformly new than is common with 
acknowledged gentlemen, at home and on his estate 
he wore his old and homely clothes, and had kind 
words for all, and hospitality besides. He loved his 
father and brother with great tenderness, which 
easily broke into tears when he spoke of them. He 
was kind to his obscurer and poor relations. He had 
no money to bestow ; they could not share his intel- 
lect, or the renown it brought. But he gave them his 
affection, and they loved him with veneration. He 
was a friendly man : all along the shore there were 
plain men that loved him, — whom he also loved. 
He was called " a good neighbor, a good towns- 
man : n — 

" Lofty and sour to those that loved him not ; 
But to those men that sought him. sweet as summer." 



272 



DAXIEL WEBSTER. 



His influence on the development of America has 
not been great. He had large gifts, large opportuni- 
ties also for their use, — the two greatest things 
which great men ask. Yet he has brought little to 
pass. No great ideas, no great organizations, will 
bind him to the coming age. His life has been a 
long vacillation. Ere long, men will ask for the 
historic proof to verify the reputation of his power. 
It will not appear. For the present, his career is a 
failure : he was balked of his aim. How will it be 
for the future ? Posterity will vainly ask for proof 
of his intellectual power to invent, to organize, to 
administer. The historian must write that he aimed 
to increase the executive power, the central govern- 
ment, and to weaken the local power of the States ; 
that he preferred the Federal authority to State 
rights, the judiciary to the legislature, the govern- 
ment to the people, the claims of money to the 
rights of man. Calhoun will stand as the represent- 
ative of State rights and free trade ; Clay, of the 
American system of protection ; Benton, of payment 
in sound coin ; some other, of the revenue tariff. And 
in the greatest question of the age, the question of 
Human Rights, as champions of mankind, there will 
appear Adams, Giddings, Chase, Palfrey, Mann, Hale, 
Seward, Rantoul, and Sumner ; yes, one other name, 
which on the historian's page will shade all these, — 
the name of Garrisox. Men will recount the words 
of Webster at Plymouth Rock, at Bunker Hill, at 



DAXIEL WEBSTER. 



273 



Faneuil Hall, at Niblo's Garden ; they will also recol- 
lect that he declared " protection of property " to be 
the great domestic object of government; that he said, 
" Liberty first and Union afterwards was delusion 
and folly ; " that he called on Massachusetts to con- 
quer her " prejudices " in favor of unalienable rights, 
and with alacrity give up a man to be a slave ; turn- 
ed all the North into a hunting-field for the blood- 
hound ; that he made the negation of God the first 
principle of government ; that our New England 
elephant turned round, tore Freedom's standard 
down, and trod her armies under foot. They will 
see that he did not settle the greatest questions by 
Justice and the Law of God. His parallel lines of 
power are indeed long lines, — a nation reads his 
word : they are not far apart, you cannot get many 
centuries between ; for there are no great ideas of 
Right, no mighty acts of Love, to keep them wide. 

There are brave words which Mr. Webster has 
spoken that will last while English is a speech ; 
yea, will journey with the Anglo-Saxon race, and 
one day be classic in either hemisphere, in every 
zone. But what will posterity say of his efforts to 
chain the fugitive, to extend the area of human 
bondage ; of his haughty scorn of any Law higher 
than what trading politicians enact in the Capitol ? 
" There is a Law above all the enactments of 
human codes, the same throughout the world, the 
same in all time ; " " it is the law written by the 



274 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



finger of God upon the heart of man ; and by that 
law, unchangeable and eternal, while men despise 
fraud, and loathe rapine, and abhor blood, they will 
reject with indignation the wild and guilty fantasy 
that man can hold property in man." * 

Calhoun, Clay, Webster, — they were all able 
men, — long in politics, all ambitious, grasping at the 
Presidency, all failing of what they sought. All three 
called themselves " Democrats," taking their stand 
on the unalienable rights of man. But all three con- 
joined to keep every eighth man in the nation a chat- 
tel slave ; all three at last united in deadly war 
against the unalienable rights of men whom swarthy 
mothers bore. O democratic America ! 

Was Mr. Webster's private life good ? There are 
many depraved things done without depravity of 
heart. I am here to chronicle, and not invent. I 
cannot praise a man for virtues which he did not 
have. This day, such praise sounds empty and im- 
pertinent as the chattering of a caged canary amid 
the sadness of a funeral prayer. Spite of womanly 
tenderness, it is not for me to renounce my man- 
hood and my God. I shall — 

" Naught extenuate and nothing add, 
Nor set down aught in malice." 



* Lord Brougham's speech on Negro Slavery, in the House of 
Commons, July 13, 1830. 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



275 



Before he left New Hampshire, I find no stain 
upon his conduct there, save recklessness of expense. 
But in Boston, when he removed here, there were 
men in vogue, in some respects perhaps, worse than 
any since as conspicuous, — open debauchees. He 
fell in with them, and became over-fond of animal 
delights, of the joys of the body's baser parts; fond 
of sensual luxury, the victim of low appetites. He 
loved power, loved pleasure, loved wine. Let me 
turn off my face, and say no more of this sad theme : 
others were as bad as he.* 

He was intensely proud. Careless of money, he 
was often in trouble on its account. He contracted 
debts, and did not settle ; borrowed of rich and poor, 
and young and old, and rendered not again. Private 
money often clove to his hands ; yet in his nature 
there was no taint of avarice. He lavished money 
on luxuries, while his washerwoman was left unpaid. 
Few Americans have squandered so much as he. 
Rapacious to get, he was prodigal of his own. I 
wish the charges brought against his public adminis- 
tration may be disproved, whereof the stain rests on 
him to this day. When he entered on a lawyer's life, 
Mr. Gore advised him, " Whatever bread you eat, 
let it be the bread of independence ! " Oh that the 



* Hoc sat viator : reliqua non sinit pudor ; 
Tu suspicare et ambula. 

Sannazarius, Epig. II. 29. 



276 



DANIEL "WEBSTER. 



great mind could have kept that counsel ! But, even 
at Portsmouth, luxury brought debt, and many an evil 
on its back. He collected money, and did not pay ! 
" Bread of independence," when did he eat it last ? 
Rich men paid his debts of money when he came to 
Massachusetts ; they took a dead-pledge on the man ; 
only death redeemed that mortgage. In 1827 he solic- 
ited the Senatorship of Massachusetts ; it " would 
put down the calumnies of Isaac Hill ! " He obtained 
the office, not without management. Then he refused 
to take his seat until ten thousand dollars was raised 
for him. The money came clandestinely, and he 
went into the Senate — a pensioner! His reputation 
demanded a speech against the tariff of '28 ; his pen- 
sion required his vote for that " bill of abominations." 
He spoke one way, and voted the opposite. Was 
that the first dotation ? He was forestalled before he 
left New Hampshire. The next gift was twenty 
thousand, it is said. Then the sums increased. 
What great K gifts " have been privately raised for 
him by contributions, subscriptions, donations, and 
the like ! Is it honest to buy up a man ? honest for 
a man to sell himself? Is it just for a Judge who 
administers the law to take a secret bribe of a party 
at his court ? Is it just for a party to offer such gifts ? 
Answer Lord Bacon who tried it; answer Thomas 
More who tried it not. It is worse for a Maker of 
laws to be bought and sold. New England men, I 
hope not meaning wrong, bought the great senator 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



277 



in '27, and long held him in their pay. They gave 
him all his services were worth, — gave more. His 
commercial and financial policy has been the bane of 
New England and the Xorth. In 1850 the South 
bought him, but never paid ! * 

A Senator of the United States, he was pensioned 
by the capitalists of Boston. Their "gifts" in his 
hand, how could he dare be just ! His later speeches 
smell of bribes. Could not Francis Bacon w r arn 
him, nor either Adams guide ? Three or four hun- 
dred years ago, Thomas More, w T hen " under Sheriff 
of London," w^ould not accept a pension from the 
king, lest it might swerve him from his duty to the 
town ; when Chancellor, he would not accept five 
thousand pounds w^hich the English clergy publicly 
offered him, for public service done as chancellor. 
But Webster in private took — how much I cannot 
tell! Considering all things, his buyers' wealth and 
his unthriftiness, it was as dishonorable in them to 
bribe, as in him to take their gift ! 

To gain his point, alas! he sometimes treated 
facts, law r , constitution, morality, and religion, as an 



* " Sed lateri nullus coniitem circumdare quaerit, 

Quern dat purus amor, sed quern tulit irnpia merces, 
Xec quisquam vero pretium largitur aniico, 
Quem regat ex aequo, vicibusque regatur ab illo : 
Sed miserum parva stipe munerat, ut pudibundos 
Exercere sales inter consilia possit." 

Pseudo Lucanus, ubi svp* 100, el seq. 

vol. i. 24 



278 



PASTEL WEBSTER. 



advocate treats matters at the bar. Was he certain 
South Carolina had no constitutional right to nul- 
lify ? I make no doubt he felt so : but in his lan- 
guage he is just as strong when he declares the 
Fugitive Slave Bill is perfectly constitutional: that 
slavery cannot be in California and New Mexico ; 
just as confident in his dreadful mock at conscience, 
and the dear God's unchanging Law. He heeded 
not i% the delegated voice of God " which speaks in 
the conscience of the faithful man. 

No living man has done so much to debauch the 
conscience of the nation ; to debauch the press, the 
pulpit, the forum, and the bar ! There is no Higher 
Law, quoth he : and how much of the pulpit, the 
press, the forum, and the bar, denies its God ! Read 
the journals of the last week for proof of what I 
say : and read our history since March of '50. He 
poisoned the moral wells of society with his lower 
law, and men's consciences died of the murrain of 
beasts, which came because they drank thereat. 

In an age which prizes money as the greatest good 
and counts the imderstanding as the highest human 
faculty, the man who is to lead and bless the world 
must indeed be great in intellect, but also great in 
conscience, greater in affection, and greatest of all 
things in his soul. In his later years, Webster was 
intellect, and little more. If he did not regard the 
eternal Right, how could he guide a nation to what 
is useful for to-day? If he scorned the Law of 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



279 



God, how could he bless the world of men ? It was 
by this fault he fell. " Those who murdered Banquo, 
what did they win by it ? n 

u A barren sceptre in their gripe, 

Thence to be wrenched with an unlineal hand, 
No son of theirs succeeding." 

He knew the cause of his defeat, and in the last 
weeks of his life confessed that he was deceived ; 
that, before his fatal speech, he had assurance from 
the North and South, that, if he supported slavery, 
it would lead him into place and power ; but now 
he saw the mistake, and that a few of the M fanatics " 
had more influence, in America than he and all the 
South! He sinned against his own conscience, and 
so he fell ! 

He made him wdngs of slavery to gain a lofty 
eminence. Those wings unfeathered in his flight. 
For one and thirty months he fell, until at last he 
reached the tomb. There, on the sullen shore, a 
mighty wreck, great Webster lies. 

u Is this the man in Freedom's cause approved, 
The man so great, so honored, so beloved ? 
Where is the heartfelt worth and weight of soul. 
Which labor could not stoOp, nor fear control ? 
Where the known dignity, the stamp of awe, 
Which, half abashed, the proud and venal saw ? 
Where the calm triumphs of an honest cause ? — 
Where the delightful taste of just applause V 



280 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



Oh, lost alike to action and repose, 

Unwept, unpitied in the worst of woes ; 

With all that conscious, undissembled pride, 

Sold to the insults of a foe defied ; 

With all that habit of familiar fame, 

Doomed to exhaust the dregs of life in shame ! " 

Oh, what a warning was his fall ! 

M To dash corruption in her proud career, 
And teach her slaves that vice was born to fear/' 

■ Oh dumb be passion's stormy rage, 
When he who might 
Have lighted up and led his age 
Falls back in night." 

Had he been faithful to his own best words, so oft 
repeated, how T he would have stood ! How r different 
would have been the aspect of the North and the 
South ; of the press, the pulpit, the forum, and the 
court ! 

Had he died after the treaty of 1842, how r different 
would have been his fame ! 

Since the Revolution, no American has had so 
noble an opportunity as Mr. Webster to speak a 
word for the advancement of mankind. There w T as 
a great occasion : slavery was clamorous for new 
power, new territory ; was invading the State Rights 
of the North. Earnest men in the North, getting 
aroused and hostile to slavery, were looking round 
for some able man to take the political guidance of 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



281 



the anti-slavery feeling, to check the great national 
crime, and help end it ; they were asking — 

" Who is the honest man, — 
He that doth still and strongly good pursue, 
To God, his neighbor, and himself, most true ; 

Whom neither fear nor fawning can 
Unpin, or wrench from giving all their due ? " 

Some circumstances seemed to point to Mr. Webster 
as the man ; his immense oratorical abilities, his long 
acquaintance with public affairs, his conspicuous 
position, his noble words in behalf of freedom, begin- 
ning with his college days and extending over many 
a year, — all these were powerful arguments in his 
behalf. The people had always been indulgent to 
his faults, allowing him a wide margin of public and 
private oscillation ; the North was ready to sustain 
him in all generous efforts for the unalienable rights 
of man. But he threw aw^ay the great moment of 
his life, used all his abilities to destroy those rights 
of man, and builded the materials of honorable 
fame into a monument of infamy for the warning 
of mankind. Declaring that " the protection of 
property" was "the great object of government," he 
sought to unite the Money power of the North and 
the Slave pow r er of the South into one great instru- 
ment to stifle discussion, and withstand religion, and 
the Higher Law r of God. 

Had he lived and labored for freedom as for 
2-4* 



282 DANIEL WEBSTER. 

slavery. — nay. with half the diligence and half the 
power, — to-morrow, all the North would rise to 
make him their President, and put on that Olympian 
brow r the WTeath of honor from a people's hand. 
Then he would have left a name like Adams, Jeffer- 
son, and Washington ; and the tears of every good 
man would have dropped upon his tomb ! Had he 
served his God with half the zeal that he served the 
South. He would not, in his age. have left him 
naked to his enemies ! If Mr. Webster had culti- 
vated the moral, the affectional. the religious part of 
his nature with the same diligence he nursed his 
power of speech, what a man there would have 
been ! With his great ability as an advocate, with 
his eloquence, his magnetic powder, in his position, 
— a Senator for twenty years, — if he could have 
attained the justice, the philanthropy, the religion of 
Channing or of Follen, or of many a modest woman 
in all the Christian sects, what a noble spectacle 
should we have seen ! Then the nation would long 
since have made him President, and he also would 
have revolutionized men's ideas of political great- 
ness ; " the bigot would have ceased to persecute, 
the despot to vex, the desolate poor to suffer, the 
slave to groan and tremble, the. ignorant to commit 
crimes, and the ill-contrived law to engender crim- 
inality." 

But he did not fall all at once. No man ever 
does. Apostasy is not a sudden sin. Little by little 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



283 



he came to the ground. Long leaning, he leaned 
over and fell down. This was his great error — he 
sold himself to the money powder to do service 
against mankind. The form of service became con- 
tinually worse. Was he conscious of this corrup- 
tion ? — at first ? But shall he bear the blame alone ? 
Oh, no ! Part of it belongs to this city, which cor- 
rupted him, tempted him wath a price, bought him 
with its gold! Daniel Webster had not thrift. 
" Poor Richard " was no saint of his. He loved 
luxury, and was careless of wealth. Boston caught 
him by the purse ; by that she led him to his mortal 
doom. With her much fair speech she caused him 
to yield; w r ith the flattery of her lips she deceived 
him. Boston was the Delilah that allured him ; but 
oft he broke the withes of gold, until at last, with a 
pension, she shore off the seven locks of his head, 
his strength went from him, and the Philistines took 
him and put out his eyes, brought him down to 
Washington, and bound him with fetters of brass. 
And he did grind in their prison-house ; and they 
said, "Our God, which is slavery, hath delivered 
into our hands our enemy, the destroyer of our in- 
stitutions, who slew many of us." Then, having 
used him for their need, they thrust the man away, 
deceived and broken-hearted! 

No man can resist infinite temptation. There 
came a peril greater than he could bear. Condemn 
the sin — pity the offending man. The tone of po- 



•2S4 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



litical morality is pitiably low. It lowered him, and 
then he debased the morals of politics. 

Part of the blame belongs to the New England 
church, which honors " devoutness," and sneers at 
every noble, manly life, calling men saints who only 
pray, all careless of the dead men's bones which glut 
the whited sepulchre. The churches of New Eng- 
land were waiting to proclaim slavery, and renounce 
the law of God. The disgrace is not his alone. 
But we must blame Mr. Webster as we blame few 7 
men. Society takes swift vengeance on the petty 
thief, the small swindler, and rogues in rags : the gal- 
lows kills the murderer, while for men in high office, 
with great abilities, who enact iniquity into law r ; 
who enslave thousands, and sow 7 a continent with 
thraldom, to bear want and shame and misery and 
sin ; who teach as political ethics the theory of crime, 
— for them there is often no earthly outward pun- 
ishment, save the indignation with which mankind 
scourges the memory of the oppressor. From the 
judgment of men, the appeal lies to the judgment of 
God : He only knows who sins, and how much. 
How much Mr. Webster is to be pitied, we know 
right well. 

Had he been a clergyman, as once he wished, he 
might have passed through life with none of the 
outward blemishes which now deform his memory ; 
famed for his gifts and graces too, for eloquence, and 
" soundness in the faith," " his praise in all the 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



•2S5 



churches." Had he been a politician in a better age, 
— when it is not thought just for capitalists to buy 
up statesmen in secret, for politicians clandestinely 
to sell their services for private gold, or for clergy- 
men, in the name of God, to sanctify all popular 
crimes, — he might have lifted up that noble voice 
continually for Truth and Right. Who could not m 
such a time ? The straw blows with the wind. 
But. alas ! he was not firm enough for his place ; too 
weak in conscience to be the champion of Justice 
while she needs a champion. Let us be just against 
the wrong he wrought, charitable to the man who 
wrought the wrong. Conscience compels our formi- 
dable blame ; the affections weep their pit}" too. 

Like Bacon, whom Mr. Webster resembles in 
many things, save industry and the philosophic mind, 
he had " no moral courage, no power of self-sacrifice 
or self-denial;" with strong passions, with love of 
luxury in all its forms, with much pride, great fond- 
ness of applause, and the intensest love of power; 
coming to Boston poor, a lawyer, without thrift, em- 
barking in politics with such companions for his pri- 
vate and his public life, with such public opinion in 
the State, — that honesty is to serve the present pur- 
poses of your part}-, or the wealthy men who control 
it ; in the Church, — that religion consists in belief 
without evidence, in ritual sacraments, in verbal 
prayer, — is it wonderful that this great intellect 
went astray ? See how corrupt the churches are, — 



286 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



the leading clergy of America are the anointed de- 
fenders of man-stealing ; see how corrupt is the 
State, betraying the red men, enslaving the black, 
pillaging Mexico ; see how corrupt is trade, which 
rules the State and Church, dealing in men. Con- 
necticut makes whips for the negro-driver. New 
Hampshire rears the negro-drivers themselves. Ships 
of Maine and Rhode-Island are in the domestic 
slave-trade. The millionaires of Massachusetts own 
men in Virginia, Alabama, Missouri! The leading 
men in Trade, in Church and State, think Justice is 
not much more needed in a statesman than it is 
needed in an ox, or in the steel which shoes his hoof! 
Remember these things, and pity Daniel Webster, 
ambitious, passionate, unthrifty ; and see the circum- 
stances which weighed him down. We judge the 
deeds : God only can judge the man. If you and I 
have not met the temptation which can overmaster 
us, let us have mercy on such as come bleeding from 
that battle. 

His calling as a lawyer was somewhat dangerous, 
leading him " to make the worse appear the better 
reason ; " to seek " not verity, but verisimilitude ; " to 
look at the expedient end, not to inquire if his means 
be also just ; to look too much at measures, not 
enough at principles. Yet his own brother Ezekiel 
went safely through that peril, — no smell of that fire 
on his garment. 

His intercourse with politicians was full of moral 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



287 



peril. How few touch politics, and are thence- 
forward clean ! 

Boston now mourns for him ! She is too late in 
her weeping. She should have wept her warning 
when her capitalists filled his right hand with bribes. 
She ought to have put on sackcloth when the speech 
of March 7th first came here. She should have hung 
her flags at half-mast when the Fugitive Slave Bill 
became a law; then she only fired cannons, and 
thanked her representative. Webster fell prostrate, 
but was Boston more innocent than he ? Remember 
the nine hundred and eighty-seven men that thanked 
him for the speech which touched their conscience," 
and pointed out the path of ,; dun* " ! It was she that 
ruined him. 

She bribed him in ±827, and often since. He re- 
garded the sums thus paid as a retaining fee. and at 
the last maintained that the Boston manufacturers 
were still in his debt ; for the services he had ren- 
dered them by defending the tariff in his place as 
Senator were to them worth more than all the money 
he received ! Could a man be honest in such a 
position ? Alas that the great orator had not the 
conscience to remember at first that man shall not 
live by bread alone ! 

What a sad life was his ! His wife died. — a 
loving woman, beautiful, and tenderly beloved ! Of 



288 DANIEL WEBSTER. 

several children, all save one have gone before him 
to the tomb. Sad man, he lived to build his chil- 
dren's monument ! Do you remember the melancholy 
spectacle in the street, when Major Webster, a vic- 
tim of the Mexican war, was by his father laid down 
in yonder tomb ? — a daughter, too, but recently laid 
low ! How poor seemed then the ghastly pageant 
in the street, empty and hollow as the muffled 
drum ! 

What a sad face he wore, — furrowed by passion, 
by ambition, that noble brow scarred all over with 
the records of a hard, sad life. Look at the prints 
and pictures of him in the street. I do not wonder 
his early friends abhor the sight. It is a face of sor- 
rows, — private, public, secret woes. But there are 
pictures of that face in earlier years, full of power, 
but full of tenderness; the mouth feminine, and in- 
nocent as a girl's. What a life of passion, of dark 
sorrow, rolled betwixt the two ! In that ambition- 
stricken face his mother would not have known her 
child ! s 

For years to me, he has seemed like one of the 
tragic heroes of the Grecian tale, pursued by fate ; 
and latterly, the saddest sight in all the Western 
World, — widowed of so much he loved, and grasp- 
ing at what was not only vanity, but the saddest 
vexation of the heart. I have long mourned for 
him, as for no living or departed man. He blasted 
the friends of man with scornful lightning : him, if 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



289 



1 could, I would not blast, but only bless continually 
and evermore. 

You remember the last time he spoke in Boston ; 
the procession, last summer, you remember it well. 
What a sad and care-worn countenance was that of 
the old man, welcomed with the mockery of ap- 
plause ! You remember, when the orator, wise- 
headed and friendly-hearted, came to thank him for 
his services, he said not a word of " saving the 
Union ; " of the " compromise measures," not a 
word. That farce was played out — it was only the 
tragic facts which were left ; but for his great ser- 
vices he thanked him. 

And when Webster replied, he said, " Here in 
Boston I am not disowned ; at least, here I am not 
disowned." No, Daniel Webster, you are not dis- 
owned in Boston. So long as I have a tongue to 
teach, a heart to feel, you shall never be disowned. 
I must be just. I shall be tender too ! 

It was partly by Boston's sin that the great man 
fell ! I pity his victims ; you pity them, too. But 
I pity him more, oh, far more ! Pity the oppressed, 
will you ? Will you not also pity the oppressor in 
his sin ? Look there ! See that face, so manly 
strong, so maiden meek ! Hear that voice ! " Neither 
do I condemn thee ! Go, and sin no more ! " Listen 
to the last words of the Crucified : " Father, forgive 
them ; for they know not what they do." 

The last time he was in Faneuil Hall, — it was 

vol. i. 25 



290 DANIEL WEBSTER. 

" Faneuil Hall open ; " once it had been shut ; — it 
was last May — the sick old man — you remember 
the feeble look and the sad face, the tremulous voice. 
He came to solicit the vote of the Methodists, — a 
vain errand. I felt then that it was his last time, 
and forbore to look upon that saddened counte- 
nance. 

The last time he was in the Senate, it was to hear 
his successor speak. He stayed an hour, and heard 
Charles Sumner demonstrate that the Fugitive 
Slave Bill was not good religion, nor good Con- 
stitution, nor good law. The old and the new 
stood face to face, — the Fugitive Slave Bill and 
Justice. What an hour! What a sight! What 
thoughts ran through the great man's mind, mingled 
with what regrets ! For slavery never set well on 
him. It was a Nessus' shirt on our Hercules, and 
the poison of his own arrows rankled now in his 
own bones. Had Mr. Webster been true to his 
history, true to his heart, true to his intention and 
his promises, he would himself have occupied that 
ground two years before. Then there w r ould have 
been no Fugitive Slave Bill, no chain round the 
court house, no man-stealing in Boston ; but the 
" Defender of the Constitution," become the " De- 
fender of the unalienable rights of man," would 
have been the President of the United States ! But 
he had not the courage to deliver the speech he 
made. No man can serve two masters, — Justice 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 291 

and Ambition. The mill of God grinds slow but 
dreadful fine ! 

He came home to Boston, and went down to 
Marshfield to die. An old man, broken with the 
storms of State, went home — to die ! His neigh- 
bors came to ease the fall, to look upon the disap- 
pointment, and give him what cheer they could. 
To him, to die was gain ; life was the only loss. 
Yet he did not wish to die : he surrendered, — he 
did not yield. 

At the last end, his friends were about him ; his 
dear ones — his wife, his son (the last of six children 
he had loved). Name by name he bade them all 
farewell, and all his friends, man by man. Two 
colored servants of his were there, — whom, it is 
said, he had helped purchase out of slavery, and bless 
with freedom's life. They watched over the bedside 
of the dying man. The kindly doctor sought to 
sweeten the bitterness of death with medicated skill ; 
and, when that failed, he gave the great man a little 
manna which fell down from heaven three thousand 
years ago, and shepherd David gathered up and kept 
it in a psalm : " The Lord is my Shepherd : though I 
walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I 
will fear no evil ; thy rod and thy staff they comfort 
me." 

And the great man faltered out his last words, 
" That is what I want — thy rod, thy rod ; thy staff, 
thy staff." That heart had never wholly renounced 



292 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



its God. Oh, no ! it had scoffed at His " Higher 
Law ; " but, in the heart of hearts, there was religious 
feeling still! 

Just four years after his great speech, on the 24th 
of October, all that w T as mortal of Daniel Webster 
went down to the dust, and the soul to the motherly 
bosom of God ! Men mourn for him : he heeds it 
not. The great man has gone where the servant is 
free from his master, where the weary are at rest, 
w 7 here the wicked cease from troubling. 

" No further seek his merits to disclose, 

Or draw his frailties from their dread abode ; 
There they alike in trembling hope repose, 
The bosom of his Father and his God ! " 

Massachusetts has lost her great adopted son. 
Has lost ? Oh, no ! "I still live" is truer than the 
sick man knew : — 

" He lives and spreads aloft by those pure eyes 
And perfect witness of all-judging God." 

His memory will long live with us, still dear to many 
a loving heart. What honor shall we pay ? Let the 
State go out mindful of his noblest services, yet tear- 
ful for his fall ; sad that he w r ould fain have filled him 
with the husks the swine do eat, and no man gave to 
him. Sad and tearful, let her remember the force of 
circumstances, and dark temptation's secret power. 
Let her remember that while we know 7 what he 



DANIEL WEBSTER. 



293 



yielded to, and what is sin, God knows what also is 
resisted, and he alone knows who the sinner is. 
Massachusetts, the dear old mother of us all ! let her 
warn her children to fling away ambition, and let 
her charge them, every one, that there is a God who 
must indeed be worshipped, and a Higher Law 
which must be kept, though Gold and Union fail. 
Then let her say to them, " Ye have dwelt long 
enough in this mountain ; turn ye, and take your 
journey into the land of Freedom, which the Lord 
your God giveth you ! " 

Then let her lift her eyes to Heaven, and pray : — 

" Sweet Mercy ! to the gates of heaven 
This statesman lead, his sins forgiven ; 
The rueful conflict, the heart riven 

, With vain endeavor, 
And memory of earth's bitter leaven, 
Effaced for ever ! " 

But 

" why to him confine the prayer, 

While kindred thoughts and yearnings bear, 
On the frail heart, the purest share 

With all that live ? 
The best of what we do and are, 

Great God, forgive ! " 



25* 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



SOME THOUGHTS 

OX THE 

NEW ASSAULT UPON FREEDOM IN AMERICA, 

AND THE 

GENERAL STATE OF THE COUNTRY 
IN RELATION THEREUNTO, 



SET FORTH IN A DISCOURSE PREACHED AT THE MUSIC HALL, 
IN BOSTON. ON SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 1854. 



DISCOURSE. 



THE DARK PLACES OF THE EARTH ARE FULL OF THE HABITA- 
TIONS of cruelty. — Psalm lxxiv. 20. 

Before next Sunday it will be nine years since I 
first spoke to you in this city, coming at your request. 
In the first discourse I spoke of the Necessity of 
Religion for the Conduct of the Individual and the 
State. Since that time several crises have occurred 
in our national affairs which have led me to en- 
deavor to apply the great principles of Religion to 
the political measures of this nation. It is some- 
thing more than a year since any such event has 
called for such treatment in this place. But now 
another assault has been made upon the liberty of 
man, in America, and so to-day I ask your attention 
to some Thoughts on the new Assault upon Free- 
dom in America, and the general State of the Coun- 
try in Relation thereunto. 



293 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



To comprehend the matter clearly, and the cause 
and the % con sequences of this special iniquity now 
contemplated, we must begin far off and study the 
general course of human conduct in America, — the 
last new continent left as a stage for the develop- 
ment of mankind. 

The transfer of the Anglo-Saxon tribe to this 
Western continent is one of the most important 
events which has taken place in the last thousand 
years. Since the Protestant Reformation, which 
helped forward the ideas that were the banner of the, 
march, nothing has proved so significant as the 
Westward movement of this swarm of men, not so 
much coming as driven out from the old close-pent 
European hive, and then settling down on the new 
continent. 

A few Romano- Celtic Frenchmen had already 
moored their venturous shallops in the American 
water, and pitched their military tents in what was 
else only the great wilderness of North America, 
roamed over by wild beasts and wild men, also the 
children of the woods. 

The Spanish tribe had come before either, and 
with military greediness were eating up the wealthy 
South. But Spain could set only a poor and per- 
ishing scion in the new world. That was always 
an evil tree to graft from, not producing good fruit. 
Besides, an old nation, in a state of decay, founds 
no healthy colonies. The children of a decomposing 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



299 



State, time-worn and debauched, though with a 
whole continent before them — what could they ac- 
complish for mankind? They inherited the idleness, 
the ferocity, the military avarice, the superstition and 
heinous cruelty of a people never remarkable for any 
high traits of character. Two thousand years ago, 
the Celto-Iberic tribe mingled with the Roman ; then 
with the Visi- Goth, the Moor, the Jew — war pro- 
claiming the savage nuptials, — and modern Spain 
is the issue of this six-fold juncture. This composite 
tribe of men had once some martial vigor; nay, 
some commercial enterprise, but it has done little to 
advance mankind by the invention of new ideas, the 
organization thereof, or the administration of what 
others devised and organized ; the meanest and most 
cruel of the Christian nations, to-day she seems 
made but of the leavings of the world. To Co- 
lumbus, adventurous Italy's most venturous son, she 
gave, grudgingly, three miserable ships, wherewith 
that daring genius sailed through the classic and 
mediaeval darkness which covered the great Atlantic 
deep, opening to mankind a new world, and new 
destination therein. No Queen wore ever a diadem 
so precious as those pearls which Isabella dropped 
into the Western sea, a bridal gift whereby the Old 
World, well endowed with Art and Science, and the 
hoarded wealth of experience, wed America, rich 
only in her gifts from Nature and her hopes in time. 
The three most valuable contributions Spain has 



300 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



made to mankind are the Consolato del mare, the 
Barcelonian bud whence modern mercantile law has 
slowly blossomed forth ; the Three Scant Ships a 
wealthy nation furnished to the Genoese navigator 
whom the world's instinct pushed Westward in quest 
of continents; and Don Quixote, a masterly satire 
on a form of folly then old-fashioned and fast getting 
extinct. These are the chief contributions Spain 
has dropped into the almsbox of the world. Coarse 
olives, huge onions, strong red wine — these are the 
offerings of the Spanish mind in the world's fair of 
modern times. Since the days of Seneca and Lu- 
can, perhaps Servetus is her foremost man, fantastic 
minded yet rich in germs of fertile thought. Moor- 
ish and Hebrew greatness has indeed been cradled 
on her soil, but thereof Spain was not the mother. 

Long before the Anglo-Saxons, the Spaniard 
came to America ; greedy of money, hungering for 
reputation — the glory of the Gascon stock. He 
brought the proud but thin and sickly blood of a 
decaying tribe ; the traditionary institutions of the 
past — Theocracy, Monarchy, Aristocracy, Despot- 
ocracy, the dominion of the master over the ex- 
ploitered slave. He brought the mass-book and 
legends of unnatural saints, — the symbols of super- 
stition and ecclesiastic tyranny ; the sword, — the 
last argument of Spanish kings, the symbol of mili- 
tary despotism ; fetters and the bloodhound. He 
brought no great ideas, new trees started in the old 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



301 



nursery of the past ; no noble sentiments, the seed- 
corn of ideal harvests yet to be. He shared only 
the material momentum of the human race which 
dashed his Eastern body on the Western world. 
He butchered the Indians who disbelieved " the Im- 
maculate conception of our blessed Lady" as taught 
by men of most Titanic, all-devouring lust. He set 
up the Inquisition, and soon had monks and nuns 
believing what heathen Guatemozin would have 
found bitterer than fire. The Spaniard attempted 
to found no institution which was an improvement 
on what he left behind — he reproduced only the 
Church, the State, the Community, and Family, of 
the middle ages. He hated arts, letters, liberty ; 
even the mass of the people seemed to care nothing 
for freedom of body or of mind v 

The Spaniard settled in the fairest parts of the 
new found land, amongst tribes already far ad- 
vanced toward civilization — the world's foremost 
barbarians. He slew them with merciless rapacity ; 
took their stone-built cities ; occupied their land 
better tilled than the gardens of Castile ; he seized 
their abundant gold ; stole their wives and their 
maidens. At home the people were wonted to bull- 
fights, wherein the valiant Matador risks his own 
worthless body, and to Autos da Fe where the 
cowardly priests burn their freethinking sister with- 
out hazarding then own nuisance of a life ; in 
America the Spaniard rioted in the murder of men. 

vol. i. 26 



302 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



The pictured horrors of De Bry report only a drop 
of the blood so torturously shed ; yet two hundred 
and fifty years ago they terrified ail Europe — Latin, 
German, French, English, Dutch. 

To America, Spain transferred the superstition 
and tyranny of mediaeval Europe, its four-fold des- 
potism, — ecclesiastical, political, social, domestic. 
She reinvented Negro Slavery. Six thousand years 
ago. before the ' ; flood," yea before mythological 
Cain had been conceived by a Hebrew head, Egypt, 
it seems, was guilty of this crime. In the middle 
ages Xegro Slavery was an art wellnigh lost. 
Spain, first of the Christian nations, enforced re- 
ligion with the knife, and beheaded men for heresy ; 
she rolled the Inquisition as a sweet morsel under 
her tongue ; her sovereigns, who extinguished the 
brand which smoked on the national hearth yet 
warm with Gothic liberty, who butchered the Moors 
and banished the plundered Jews, were for such 
services styled B the Catholic ! ? ' Spain reannexed 
Xegro Slavery to herself, and therewith stained the 
soil of America. Therein she broke not the con- 
tinuity of her history, the succession of rapine, 
piracy, cruel outpouring of blood. Not Italian 
Columbus, but Iberian Cortes and Pizarro, were the 
types of Spain ; not Las Casas, but Torquemada. 

Behold now the condition of Spanish America. 
It? most flourishing part is an empire, with the 
house of Braganza at its head — an imitation of 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



303 



the old world, a despotism throned on bayonets. 
There are two empires in Tropic America — Hayti 
and Brazil ; the foremost tradition of Africa, the hind- 
most of Europe set down on American soil. The 
Negro empire appears the most successful, the most 
promising. There alone is no hereditary slavery. 
Over Cuba, France and England still hold up the 
feeble hands of Spain — whence at last freedom 
seems dropping into the Slave's expectant lap. The 
rest of Spanish America has the form of a republic — 
a republic whose only permanent constitution is a 
Cartridge-box, which blows up once a year. Look 
at Mexico — I am glad she is going swiftly back to 
the form of despotism ; she is capable of no other re- 
ality. How the Western vultures fly thitherward ! 
"Where the carcass of a nation rots there will the filli- 
busters be gathered together. Every raven in the 
hungry flock of American politicians looks that way. 
wipes his greedy beak, prunes his wings, and screams 
" Manifest Destiny ! " 

In South America there are ten u Republics." 
They cover three and a half millions of square miles, 
and contain twelve million men. But they do less 
for mankind than Holland; nay. Basil and Zurich 
do more for the human race than these ;; Republics," 
which only blot the continent. No Idea is cradled 
in Spanish America ; no books are written there ; 
none read but books of " Devotion," which Igno- 
rance long since wrote. Old Spain imports from 



304 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



France the filthiest novels of the age ; new Spain 
only the yet more deadly books of Catholic " Devo- 
tion." The " laws " of the Chilian " Republic " are 
printed in Spain, where no Chilian ship ever sailed. 
The Amazon has eighty thousand miles of navigable 
water, — near a hundred thousand, say some, the 
survey is conjectural, — and drains into the lap of 
America, a tropic basin, the largest, the richest on 
the globe, with more good land than all Europe 
owns ; therein streams larger than the Danube dis- 
charge their freight. But only a single steamer 
disturbs the alligator on its mighty breast — that 
steamer built and owned at New York. Para at its 
mouth is more than three hundred years old, yet has 
not twenty thousand souls. If the South American 
" Republics " were to perish this day, the world 
would hardly lose a valuable experiment in Spanish 
political or social life, hardly a visible promise of 
future prosperity ; so badly flourish the Spanish 
scions set in the green soil of America, and sur- 
rounded by the old institutions of the middle ages. 
Slavery is the one idea of the Spanish tribes — here 
African, there Indian or Caucasian. 

One hundred and thirty years after Genoese Co- 
lumbus had planted the Spanish Cross in the new 
world — " sword in hand and splendidly arrayed," 
— from a little vessel, leaky, and with a "wrack 
in the main beam amidships," the Anglo-Saxons 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



305 



dropped their anchor in Massachusetts bay, circled 
then with savage woods ; they drew up a " compact," 
chose their "Governor" for one year; rested and 
worshipped on Sunday ; the next day landed at 
" New Plymouth," thanking God. They came, a 
slip from a young tree full of hardy life. Four stout 
roots — Angle, Saxon, Danish, Norman, — united 
their old fantastic twists and joined in this one 
tough and rugged stem, then quadruply buttressed 
below, now how widely branched abroad in every 
climate of the world! Fresh blood was in those 
Anglo-Saxon veins ; strong, red, heathen blood, not 
long before inoculated with Christianity which yet 
took most kindly in all Teutonic veins. 

These Pilgrims had in them the ethnologic idio- 
syncrasy of the Anglo-Saxon — his restless disposi- 
tion to invade and conquer other lands ; his haughty 
contempt of humbler tribes, which leads him to sub- 
vert, enslave, kill, and exterminate ; his fondness for 
material things, preferring use to beauty ; his love of 
personal liberty, yet coupled with most profound re- 
spect for peaceful and established law ; his inborn 
skill to organize things to a mill, men to a company, 
a community, tribes to a federated State ; and his 
slow, solemn, inflexible, industrious, and unconquer- 
able will. 

They brought with them much of the tradition of 
the human race, the guidings and warnings of expe- 
rience ; a great deal of superstition, of tyranny not 

26* 



306 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



a little, — ecclesiastical, political, social, domestic. 
They brought the sword, — that symbol of military 
despotism must yet fight on freedom's side ; but 
they loved better the axe, the wooden shovel — the 
best they had, — the plough, the swine, the ox, tools 
of productive industrial civilization, types of toil and 
cooperative freedom. For the Mass-Book they had 
the Bible : it was a free Bible ; let him read that 
listeth. No doubt the Bible contained the imperfec- 
tion of the men and ages concerned in writing it. 
The hay tastes of the meadow where it grew, of the 
weather when it w^as made, and smells of the barn 
wherein it has been kept ; nay the breath of the 
oxen housed underneath comes down to market in 
every load. But in its many-colored leaves, the 
Bible likewise holds the words of great men, free 
and making free ; it was full of the old blossoms of 
piety, and rich in buds for new and glorious life, aye, 
and beauty too. The cup of prophets mainly, not 
of priests, it ran over w T ith water of life from the 
mythologic well in the wilderness and Bethesda's 
pool which angels stirred to healing power ; — it gave 
men vigorous strength and hardy life. Instead of 
the bloodhound, the Pilgrims sent the schoolmaster 
to his work ; — they put their fetters on the little 
streams that run among the hills, and those river- 
gods must saw, and grind, and spin for mortal men ; 
not the Inquisition, but the Printing Press, was the 
.type and symbol of this Northern work. 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



307 



They had the traditions of the human race, but 
also its momentum acquired in the movement of 
many a thousand years. They brought the best po- 
litical institutions the world had then known. They 
had the English Common Law, — which had slowly 
got erected in the practice of this liberty-loving peo- 
ple, its Cyclopean Walls built up by the Lesbian 
rule, — with its forms and precedents, its methodical 
schemes of procedure, itself a popular judicium rus- 
ticum ; they had the habit of local self-government ; 
the right — though then not well understood — of 
popular legislation, also founded in immemorial 
usage ; dim notions and the certain practice of rep- 
resentative government — the Democracy of Law- 
making ; the trial by Jury — the Democracy of Law- 
administration. They brought Congregational Prot- 
estantism — the Democracy of Christianity, involving, 
what they neither granted nor knew, the universal 
right of search for truth and justice, the natural right 
to take or reject, as a man's own spirit should require. 

Besides the organized institutions — visible as 
tools of industry or politics, or invisible in literature, 
science, settled and admitted principles of private 
morality or of public law, — which represent the 
history and achievements of mankind, they brought 
also Ideas not organized in either form of institution, 
and sentiments not then translated into conscious 
thought. These represented man's natural instinct 
of progress and the momentum he had gained in 



308 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



history ; they were to become institutions and facts 
in future time. 

When the Puritan founded his colonies in New 
England, there were other Anglo-Saxon settlements 
on the Atlantic Coast. Jamestown was founded in 
1607. Other settlements followed. The same Anglo- 
Saxon blood flowed South as well as North ; the 
same traditions and institutions were with both. 
But the Anglo-Saxons North brought institutions, 
ideas, and feelings quite unlike those of their South- 
ern fellows. The motive for immigrating was alto- 
gether unlike. New England was a religious colony, 
— mainly composed of persecuted men who fled 
Westward because they had ideas which could not 
be set up in the Eastern world. Thrice the May- 
flower crossed the sea, coming to Plymouth, to Sa- 
lem, to Boston ; each time bringing veritable Pil- 
grims who came from a religious motive, and sought 
religious ends. This was likewise the case with the 
primitive settlers of Pennsylvania. The South was 
not settled by religious colonies. The primitive dif- 
ference in the seed has continually appeared in the 
growth thence accruing ; in the policy and the char- 
acter of the South and North. The same year 
which brought the Puritan Pilgrims to New Eng- 
land bore a quite different freight to Virginia. In 
1620, a Dutch captain carried thither some twenty 
Africans who were sold as slaves into perpetual 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



309 



bondage — themselves and their children. Thus the 
old sin of Egypt, half omitted and half forgotten in 
classic and mediaeval times, rediscovered by the 
Spaniards, and fixed by despots, — a loathly plague- 
spot — on the tropic regions of America, was brought 
North, adopted by the Anglo-Saxons of the South, 
and set a going at Jamestown. It excited no aston- 
ishment. All the " Christian " world then sold pris- 
oners of war for slaves. Thus early did Negro 
Slavery become an " institution " of the South. 

But all things are double : in the Anglo-Saxon 
North there were two contending elements. One 
represented old institutions, and wished to stop 
therewith. It loved despotocracy in the family, 
aristocracy in the community, monarchy in the 
state, and theocracy in the church : it opposed the 
natural human rights of the servant in the family, 
of the laborer in the community, of the people in 
the State, of the layman in the church ; it favored 
the rule of the master, the lord, the king, the priest. 
This element was old, ancestral, stationary if not 
retrogressive ; it was also powerful. In this the 
Anglo-Saxon and the Spaniard were alike. 

The other element was the instinct for progressive 
development ; the Sentiments not idealized into con- 
scious thoughts ; the Ideas not organized into insti- 
tutions. There was a feeling of the equality of all 
men in the substance of their human nature, and 



310 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



consequently in all natural rights, howsoever diverse 
in natural powers, in transmitted distinction and 
riches, or in acquired culture, money, and station. 
Now and then this feeling had broken out in a 
" Jack Cade's insurrection," or a " Peasant's war." 
But in the seventeenth century it found no distinct 
expression as a thought. Perhaps it was not an 
idea with any man a hundred and fifty years ago ; 
it was the stuff ideas are made of. What other 
feelings are there, one day to become ideas, then 
acts, the world's victorious life! Lay down your 
ear to the great ocean of humanity, and as the spirit 
of God moves on the face of this deep, listen to the 
low tone of the great ground swell, and interpret the 
ripple at the bottom of the sea while, all above, the 
surface, is calm as a maiden's dreamless sleep. In 
these days, what is it that we hear at the bottom of 
the world as the eternal tide of human history meets 
with the sand bars cast down in many an ancient 
storm ! Thereof will I speak not now. 

This feeling came slowly to an idea. With many 
stumblings and wanderings it went forth, blindfold 
as are all the instinctive feelings — whereunto only 
God not man is Eye, — not knowing whither it 
went or even intended to go. See what has been 
done, or at least commenced. 

I. They protested against Theocracy in the church. 
" Let us have a church without an altar or a Bishop ; 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



311 



a service with no mass-book, no organ, no surplice, 
each congregation subject only to the Lord, not to 
man," said the Puritan — and he had it : " Yea," 
answered the Quaker, " and with no hireling minis- 
ter, no outward sacrament, no formal prayer of 
words ; the church is they that love the Lord ; it 
takes all the church to preach all the gospel, and 
without that cannot all mankind be saved ! " " No 
vicarious sprinkling of babies, but the voluntary 
plunging of men," cried the Anabaptist. Thereat 
the theocratic Puritan lifted his hands and scourged 
the Baptist and smote the Quaker stone dead. But 
the palm-tree of toleration sprang out of Mary 
Dyer's grave. The theocracy got routed in many 
a well-contested fight ; in this city of the Puritans, 
the Catholic, the Quaker, the Anabaptist, the Jew, 
and the Unitarian may worship or worship not, just 
as they will. But this fight is not over ; yet it is 
plain how the battle is going. The Theocracy is 
doomed to the cave of Pope and Pagan. Let us 
give it our blessing — as it goes. The Puritan fled 
from Episcopal England to tolerant Holland, to the 
wilderness of America. But he brought more than 
Puritanism along with him, — Humanity came in the 
same Ship. The great warfare for the right of man's 
nature to transcend all the accidents of his history, 
began in the name of religion — the instinct where- 
unto is the deepest in us, the innermost kernel and 
germinal dot in the human spirit ; Luther's hammer 



312 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



shook the world. During mid-winter, in Switzer- 
land, when the snow overhangs heavily from every 
cliff, if the traveller but clap his hands and shout 
aloud, the mountains answer with an avalanche. 
When Martin lifted up his voice amid the mediaeval 
snows of Europe, half Christendom came down in 
that great land-slip of churches. Other snows have 
since fallen ; other voices will be lifted up ; other 
church-slides will follow — for every mountain shall 
be levelled, and the valleys filled. The Bible took 
the place of the Mass-book, the minister of the 
priest, the independent society of the Papal church. 
The glorious liberty of the children of God is to be 
the final result for all. 

II. Next came the protest against Monarchy. 
The Anglo-Saxons never loved single-headed, abso- 
lute despotism. How the Barons fought against it ! 
But it was left for " His Majesty's faithful Com- 
mons " to do the work. The dreadful axe of Puri- 
tanic Oliver Cromwell shore off the divine right of 
kings, making a clean cut between the vicarious 
government of the middle ages, and the personal 
self-rule of modern times. On the 30th of January, 
164S, the executioner held up the head of Charles I. 
with a " Behold the Head of a Traitor," and 
" Royalty disappeared in front of Whitehall : " a 
ghastly, dreadful sight. Peasant Luther pushed the 
Latin Mass-book aside with his German Bible, say- 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



313 



ing, " Thus I break the succession of the Priests." 
With his sword Cromwell, the brewer, pushed aside 
the Crown of England, u Thus I break the succes- 
sion of Kings." 

New England loved Cromwell; and while dwell- 
ing in the wilderness exercised the rights of sov- 
ereignty many times before it was known what she 
did, both destroying and building, — as likewise do 
all of us, — greater and wiser than she knew. 
Luther's hammer broke also the neck of kings, who 
disappear, and in their place came up governors and 
presidents not born to adverse rule, but voted in for 
official service. 

III. Then came the protest against Aristocracy. 
God made men not in classes but as individuals — 
each man a person with all the substantive rights of 
humanity : the same law must serve for all ; all 
must be equal before it and the social institutions of 
the community. That was the dim utterance of 
many a man who grumbled in his beard : — 

" When Adam delved and Eve span 
Where was then the gentleman *? " 

How idly they dreamed — looking back for the Para- 
dise that lay before them ! But between it and 
them Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel, and a fourth stream, 
nameless as yet, rolled torrents of blood ; and a fiery 
sword of selfishness turned every way to keep men 
vol. i. 27 



314 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



from the Tree of Life, whose very leaves are for the 
healing of the nations — could they but get to it. 
Could they — aye ! Can they not ? 

Little by little, man's nature prevailed over Aris- 
tocracy, one accident of his development. The Anglo- 
Saxon Briton had restricted the Nobility he brought 
with him from the Continent ; — only the eldest son 
inherits his father's land, title, and rank, the later- 
born all commoners. The Anglo-Saxon American 
broke up Primogeniture : the children are equal in 
blood and rank ; the first son has no more of his 
father in him than the last; all must share equally in 
his goods. Rank is not heritable. If a coward, the 
Captain's son is no Captain ; by human substance, 
eminent manhood, bravery, skill, is the new man 
made Captain ; not by the historic accident of legiti- 
mate descent from an old Captain. To be born well 
is to be well born ; tall men are of a high family. 
The corporal's child, yea, the sons of Rank and File, 
are also men. In the woods of Nature, new human- 
ity takes precedence of all the artificial distinctions 
of old time. The crime of the father must work no 
attainder in the baby's blood ; by the sour grapes of 
his own eating only shall a man's teeth be set on 
edge. Estates must not be entailed in perpetuity. 
Land must be held in fee-simple, with no quitrents, 
or other servitudes of vassalage ; on terms which all 
can understand. The vicarious land-tenures of the 
Middle Ages are for ever broken. All men may hold 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



315 



land ; and cheaply convey it to whom they will. For 
the first time the majority have a stake in the public 
hedge ; the mediaeval *" Noble," the conventional 
" Gentleman " gradually withdraws and moves out 
from New England. " It is not a good place for 
Gentlemen/' so a governor wrote two hundred years 
ago. Everybody is u Mr." ; then M Esquire." The 
born magistrate vanishes, the " Select Men " are an- 
nually voted in. Still the social aristocracy, bot- 
tomed on accident, is far from being ended. But it 
rests no longer on the immovable accident of birth, 
but on the changeable block of money, and like that 
can be struggled for and acquired by all. It rests on 
golden sands or fickle votes. 

IV. There yet remains the protest against Despot- 
ocracy — the adverse rule of the master over the ser- 
vant, the hostile subordination of the weak to the 
strong in the family. In a military despotism, war 
confers dignity : M it is the part of a man to fight,*' 
says Homer, ;; of a slave to work;" and they - who 
exercise lordship are called Benefactors." In a The- 
ocracy, the priest is a sacred person : his work is " di- 
vine service," he enters the temple ; but the people 
are profane, and must stand without ; their work is 
menial ! In a Theocracy, Monarchy, Aristocracy — 
founded and maintained bv violence or cunning — 
labor is thought degrading ; the laborer is for the 
State, not it also for him. This exploitering of 



316 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



the weak by the strong belongs to the essence 
of those three institutions. Domestic Slavery co- 
heres therewith, and in dark ages this adverse 
rule of the strong over the weak appears in all the 
collective action of men — ecclesiastical, political, 
social, domestic ; the God, the King, the Noble, the 
Master, the Husband, the Father, — all are tyrants ; 
all rule is despotism — the strong for his interest 
coercing the weak against theirs. In such a soil, 
Slavery is at home, and grows rank and strong. 

But in an industrial community, with a printed 
Bible bought by the Parish and belonging thereunto ; 
with a minister chosen by the laymen's votes, ordain- 
ed by their hands, paid by their free-will offerings, 
nay, educated, perhaps, by their charity, criticized by 
their judgment, removable at their will ; with a creed 
voted in by the congregation — and voted out when 
they change their mind ; with no monarch ruling by 
divine right, but only a Governor chosen by the 
people at their annual meeting ; with no " Nobles," 
no u Gentlemen," but an elected assembly, a general 
court, — sworn on a constitution made by the people, 
— democratically making laws ; with magistrates cho- 
sen by the people, or responsible thereto ; with dem- 
ocratic trial by jury for all men ; with the idea that a 
man's nature is before all the accidents of his ances- 
try or estate — the old domestic Despotocracy must 
gradually become impossible. Labor will be thought 
honorable — idleness a disgrace. Productive activity 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



317 



will be deemed a glory, and riches its result, the 
greatest of all mere outside and personal distinctions. 
The tools must be for whoso can handle them. So 
the threefold movement, destroying the triple tyr- 
anny already mentioned, must presently achieve the 
emancipation of man from all personal servitude and 
domestic subordination : the substance of man must 
be inaugurated above the accidents of his history. 
This must be done not only in the Church, the State, 
the Community, but also in the Family. It must set 
the bondman free. If the Church, State, and Com- 
munity rest on natural Law, so likewise must the 
Family as well. 

To accomplish this, two things were needful. This 
was the first. 

1. To affirm as a principle and establish in 
measures the idea that all men, rich and poor, strong 
and weak, are equal in all their natural rights ; that 
as the accident of birth makes no man Priest, King, 
or Noble, with a right, thence derived, to rule over 
men against their will in the Church, State, or Com- 
munity ; so the accident of superior power gives no 
man a right in the Family to hold others in bondage 
and subordination, for his advantage and against 
theirs. It is only to admit that all are Men, for man- 
hood carries all human rights with it, as land the 
crops, and the substance its primary qualities. It 
seems a small thing to do ; — especially for men 
27' 



318 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



able, to dispense and make way with the other 
mediaeval forms of vicarious rule — theocracy, mon- 
archy, and aristocracy. How easy it seemed to in- 
augurate personality and individualism in the family! 
But as matters were, this was the most difficult 
thing of all. For the Priests, the Kings, the Nobles 
did not come over — only the tradition thereof, and 
the habit of subordination thereto, with a few feeble 
scions of the sacerdotal, royal, and noble stocks — 
and preaching against these always was popular, — 
while the Masters came over in large numbers, 
bringing their slaves. They brought the substance of 
Despotocracy along with them, not merely its tradi- 
tion. To preach against that was always a " sin " 
to the American Church. But Man wants unity of 
consciousness. Accordingly, in New England good 
men began early to feel that absolute and perpetual 
Slavery was a wicked thing. Had not the letter of 
the Old Testament and of certain passages in the 
New blinded their eyes, I think the Puritan would 
have seen more clearly than he did see. Still, with 
so much of the spirit of the Old Testament in him, 
he could not but see it was wrong to steal men for 
the purpose of making them Slates and their chil- 
dren after them. So Slavery was always a contra- 
diction in the consciousness of New England. The 
white Slaves became free on expiration of their term 
of service, or were set free before. There were many 
such. The red men would not work — and were let 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 319 

alone, or quietly shot down. The Indians killed the 
white man and scalped him ; the Puritan omitted 
the scalping — it was not worth his while ; the scalp 
was of no use. 

The Slavery of the Blacks never prevailed exten- 
sively in New England. It was not found very prof- 
itable. True it prevailed : it had the laws and the 
tradition of the elders on its side. But it was yet 
felt, known, and confessed to be at variance with the 
ecclesiastical, political, and social ideas of the people. 
There was always a good deal of conscience in Xew 
England. The religious origin of the first colonies is 
not yet a forgotten fact. The Puritan still looked up 
to a Higher Law. Did he keep his powder dry ? He 
also trusted in God. Coveting the end, he looked for 
the means thereto. The gain from the compulsory 
labor of the African Slave was not motive enough 
to keep up the contradiction in the Xew England 
consciousness. So before the Revolution this institu- 
tion was much weakened, and with that disappeared 
from New England ; and soon after vanished out of 
all the States which she bore or taught. 

2. The other thing was Jo affirm as a principle and 
establish as a measure the natural equality of Men 
and Women in all that pertained to human rights. 
It was only to affirm that Woman is human, and 
has the same quality of human substance with man. 
If difference in condition, as rich and poor, or ability, 



320 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



as strong or weak, does not affect the substance of 
manhood, and the rights thence accruing, no more 
does difference of sex, masculine or feminine, make 
one master and the other slave. Not only the prole- 
tary, the servant, the slave, but exploitered woman 
also must rise as Despotocracy goes down. 

In the Southern part of the North American Con- 
tinent other Anglo-Saxon colonies got planted and 
grew up. None of them was a religious settlement ; 
the immigrants came not for the sake of an idea too 
new or too great for toleration at home. They came 
as Adventurers, seeking their fortune ; not as Pilgrims, 
to found the " Kingdom of Heaven on Earth." The 
Southern Settlers had not the New England hostility 
to mediaeval institutions. Theocracy, Monarchy, 
Aristocracy, were not so unwelcome further South. 
In 1671, the Governor of Virginia said that she " had 
no free schools nor printing-press. Learning has 
brought disobedience, and heresy, and sects into the 
world, and printing has divulged them, and libels 
against the best governments. God keep us from 
both ! " Despotocracy had its home in the Southern 
States. African Slavery came to Virginia in the 
same year which brought the Pilgrims to Plymouth. 
It suited the idleness of the self-indulgent master, 
and became an institution fixed and beloved in the 
Southern colonies, so diverse in their ideas from the 
stern but bigoted North. Still the ideas of the age 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



321 



found their way to these colonies — and led to acts. 
There also was a protest against theocracy, monar- 
chy, aristocracy, and even against despotocracy. 
Mutuality of origin, community of position — that is 
all the Northern and Southern colonies at first had in 
common. Sentiments, ideas, institutions, were quite 
diverse. By and by a little trade helped unite the 
two. The South wanted Slaves. The North — 
especially Rhode Island — overcame its scruples, and, 
spite of the Old Testament, stole men in Africa to sell 
them at enormous profit in the colonies of the South. 

This great human protest against that four-fold 
despotism continually went on — no man under- 
standing the great battle between the substance of 
man's progressive nature and the stationary institu- 
tions which were the accidents of his history. At 
length, things came to such a pass that connection 
between new America and old England could not 
be borne. Between the Old and the New there had 
ceased to be that mutuality of Sentiment and Idea 
which makes unity of institutions and unity of ac- 
tion possible. The Daughter was too strong to bear 
patiently the dictation and the yoke of her parent; 
the Mother was too distant and too feeble to enforce 
her selfish commands. 

America published to the world a part of the new 
ideas which lay in her mind. The Declaration of 
Independence contained the American Programme 



322 THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 

of Political Principles. The motive thereto is to be 
found in the general human instinct for progress, but 
more especially in the old Teutonic spirit, the love 
of individual liberty, which has marked the ancient 
Germans, and still more eminently their Anglo- 
Saxon descendants, as well in Christian as in 
Heathen times. The form of speech — self-evident 
maxims, universal truths resting on the consciousness 
of mankind — seems derived from European writers 
on NaturaP Law ; the influence of continental free- 
thinkers is obvious therein. But the first express 
declaration, that there are natural, unalienable Rights 
in man, seems to have been made a few years before, 
in New England, in Boston. Is it here thought an 
honor to the town ? — Nay, perhaps a disgrace ! 

Here is the American Programme of Political 
Principles : All men are endowed by their Creator 
with certain natural Rights ; these Rights can be 
alienated only by the possessor thereof; in respect 
thereto all men are equal; amongst them are the 
Right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happi- 
ness ; it is the function of government to preserve 
all these natural, unalienable, and equal Rights for 
each man ; government is amenable to the people, 
deriving its sanction from the consent of the 
governed. 

In time of peace the thirteen distinct colonies 
could not have united in that Declaration of Princi- 
ples. The political ideal was a severe criticism on 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



323 



the actual legislation of the Americans. Talk of 
natural law and equal rights when every colony held 
Slaves in perpetual bondage ! When the North 
stole men in Africa to sell them in Carolina ! But 
America was then in her agony and bloody sweat. 
European Despotism was the Angel which strength- 
ened her. External violence pressed the colonies to- 
gether into a Confederation of States ; that alone 
gave unity of action when there was no unity of 
humane sentiment or political idea. The union was 
only military — for defence. 

The New conquered; but the Old did not die. 
Not every Tory went over to the British side. After 
the war was over, the nation must organize itself on 
that new Platform of Principles. But, alas, much 
of the old selfishness remained — theocratic, mo- 
narchic, aristocratic, and still more despotocratic ; it 
would appear in the new government. There was 
no real unity of Idea between the extreme South 
and the North, between Carolina and Connecticut. 
Nothing is done by leaps. In organizing the Inde- 
pendence won in battle, the People proclaimed their 
Programme of Political Purpose. It is the Preamble 
to the Constitution: " To form a more perfect Union, 
establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, pro- 
vide for the common Defence, promote the general 
Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty/' 
The Purpose was as noble as the Principles. But 
the means to that end, the Constitution itself, is by 



324 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



no means unitary ; it is a provisional compromise 
between the ideal political Principles of the Declara- 
tion, and the actual selfishness of the people North 
and South ; it is a measure which did not so much 
suit the ideal Right, as it favored one great ac- 
tual tyranny. National theocracy was given up. 
How could the Americans allow a "national re- 
ligion ? " Monarchy went also to the ground ; the 
Puritan bosom that bore Cromwell — 

" Would have brooked 
Th' eternal Devil to keep his state .... 
As easily as King." 

Aristocracy found more favor, but likewise perished ; 
" no title of nobility shall be granted ; " honors are 
not devisable. Despotocracy, the worst institution 
of the middle ages — the leprosy of society — came 
over the water: the Slave survived the Priest, the 
Noble, the King. Must the axe of a more terrible 
Cromwell shear that also away ? Shall it be a black 
Cromwell? History points to St. Domingo. The 
Future also has much to teach us. The Declaration 
of Principles and of Purposes would annihilate Sla- 
very ; the Constitution nowhere forbids it, but broods 
over that egg which savage selfishness once laid. 
How could the liberty-loving North join with Caro- 
lina, which rejoiced to fetter men? The unity of 
action was no longer military — it was commercial, 
union for trade. Thus the Idea of America became 
an Act! 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



325 



The truths of the Declaration went abroad to do 
their work. The French Revolution followed with 
its wide-reaching consequences, so beneficial to man- 
kind ; it still goes on. The ground-swell has come 
near the surface, and all the European sea now 
foams with tumult. Foreign opposition withdrew ; 
America was left to herself, the sole republic of the 
world, with the wilderness for her stage and scene, 
and her great ideas for plot. The two antagonistic 
elements, the old selfishness which loves those four 
traditions of the past, the new benevolent instinct of 
progress which seeks the development of all man's 
nobler powers, were to fight their battle, while with 
hope and fear the world looks on. The New World 
has now broken with the old — once and for ever. 

The peculiar characteristics of the Anglo-Saxon 
appear now more prominent in the American than 
in the Britons ; yet he is not altered, only developed. 
The love of individual liberty triumphs continually ; 
the white man becomes more democratic — in 
Church, State, Community, and Family. The in- 
vasive character appears in the individual and 
national thirst for land, and our rapid geographic 
spread. Materialism shows itself in the swift growth 
of covetousness, in the concentration of the talent 
and genius of the nation upon the acquisition of 
riches. The power to organize things and men 
comes out in the machines, ships, and mills, in little 
and great confederations, from a lyceum to the 

vol. i. 2S 



326 THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 

I 

Federal Union of thirty-one States. The natural 
exclusiveness appears in the extermination of the red 
man, in the enslavement of the black man, in the 
contempt with which he is treated — turned out of 
the tavern, the church, and the graveyard. The lack 
of high qualities of mind is shown in the poverty of 
American literature, the meanness of American 
religion, in the neglect and continual violation of the 
idea set forth in our national programme of Prin- 
ciples and Purpose. Since the Revolution, the im- 
mediate aim of America appears to have changed. 

At first, during the period of America's coloniza- 
tion and her controversy with England, and her 
affirmation and establishment of her programme of 
political principles, — the great national work of the 
disunited provinces was a struggle for local self- 
government against despotic centralization beyond 
the sea. It was an effort against the vicarious rule 
of the middle ages, which allowed the people no 
power in the State, the laity none in the Church, the 
servant none in the family. It was a great effort — 
mainly unconscious — in favor of the direct govern- 
ment of each State by itself, of the whole people by 
the whole people ; a national protest against Theoc- 
racy, — the subordination of man in religious affairs 
to the accident of his history ; Monarchy, the subor- 
dination of the mass of men to a single man; Aris- 
tocracy, the subordination of the many to the few, 
of the weak to the strong ; yes, in part also against 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



327 



Despotocracy, the subordination of the slave who 
toils to the master that enjoys. — in their rights they 
were equal. This forced men to look inward at the 
natural rights of man; outward at the general 
development thereof in history. It led to the at- 
tempt to establish a Democracy, which, so far as 
Measures are concerned, is the government of all, 
for all, by all; so far as moral Principle is concerned, 
it is the enactment of God's Justice into human 
laws. There was a struggle of the many against 
the few; of man's nature, with its instinct of pro- 
gressive and perpetual development, against the ac- 
cidents of man's history. It was an effort to estab- 
lish the Eternal Law of God against the provisional 
caprice of tyrants. I do not mean to say that these 
great purposes and ideas existed consciously in the 
minds of men. They were in men's character, not 
in their convictions ; they came out in their life more 
than in their speech. They were in men as botany 
is in this plant, as chemistry in this drop of water, as 
gravitation which rounds it to a globe and brings it 
to the ground. But the camelia knows not the 
botany it lives ; the drop of water knows nothing of 
the chemistry which has formed it, arranging its par- 
ticles " by number and measure and weight : " it 
knows not the gravitation which brings it to the 
ground. So it was the great soul of humanity that 
stirred in our fathers' heart ; it was the Providence 
of God working by the men who formed the State. 



328 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



From 1620 to 1788 there was a rapid development 
of ideas. But since that time the outward pressure 
has been withdrawn. The nation is no longer called 
to protest against a foreign foe ; no despot forces us 
to fall back on the great principles of human nature, 
and declare great universal truths. Even the Anglo- 
Saxon people are always metaphysical in revolution. 
We have ceased to be such, and have become 
material. We have let the programme of political 
principles and purposes slip out of the nation's con- 
sciousness, and have betaken ourselves, body and 
soul to the creation of riches. Wealth is the great 
object of American desire. Covetousness is the 
American passion. This is so — nationally in the 
political affairs of the country ; ecclesiastically, so- 
cially, domestically, individually. Our national char- 
acter, political institutions, geographic situation, — 
all favor the accumulation of riches. I thank God 
that we are thus rich ! 

No country was ever so rich before, nor got rich 
so fast ; in none had wealth ever such power, or was 
so esteemed. It is counted as the end of life, not as 
the material basis to higher forms thereof. It has 
no conventional check in the institutions of the land, 
and only two natural checks in the heart of the peo- 
ple. One is the talent and genius — intellectual, 
moral, affectional, and religious — that is born in rare 
men ; and the other is the desire, the caprice, the 
opinion, of the great majority of men, who oppose 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



329 



their collective human will against the material glit- 
ter of mere accumulated money. But money can 
buy intellectual talent and intellectual genius ; at 
least it can buy- American talent and American 
genius. .Money, and the men of cultivated minds 
whom it buys, can deceive the people, so that the 
majority shall follow the dollar wherever it rolls. 
The clink of the dollar, — that is the reveille, the 
morning drum-beat, for the American people. In 
America, money is inaugurated as a power to con- 
trol all other powers. It has itself become an " In- 
stitution " — master of all the rest. 

Three of those bad institutions that I named, 
whereof our fathers brought the traditions from the 
old world, have mainly perished. The mediaeval 
Theocracy has gone out from the Protestant Church ; 
Monarchy has wholly faded from the consciousness 
of the people ; Aristocracy, sitting un movable on 
her cradle, has had her heart pierced through and 
through by the gigantic spear of American Industry 
horsed on a steam-engine. Money has taken the 
place of all three. It has got inaugurated into the 
Church, — it is a Church of commerce ; in the State 
— it is a State of commerce; in the Community not 
less, — it is a society of commerce ; and money 
wields the triple power of those three old masters, 
Theocracy, Monarchy, Aristocracy. It is the Al- 
mighty Dollar. 

In the American Church, money is God. The 
28* 



330 THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



peculiar sins of money, and of the rich, they are 
never preached against ; it is a Church of commerce, 
wealth its heaven and the millionaire its saint ; its 
ministers should be ordained, not " by the imposition 
of hands," but of bank-bills — of small denomina- 
tion. In the American State, money is the Consti- 
tution : officers ought to be sworn on the federal cur- 
rency; they should make the sign of the dollar, ($) 
as their official symbolic cross ; it is a State of com- 
merce. In the community, money is Nobility ; it is 
transmissible social power; it is Aristocracy, it 
makes a man who has got it a vulgar " gentleman ; " 
it is a Society of commerce. Nay, in the family, 
money is thought better than love, and the daughter 
who fascinates and coaxes and courts and weds a 
bag of gold, gets the approbation of her mother and 
her father's benediction, " Many daughters have done 
virtuously ', but thou excellest them all." 

" Xone but the rich deserve the fair." 

The fourth bad institution whose tradition our 
fathers brought, Despotocracy, the rule of the master 
over the slave whom he exploiters, — that has not 
yet shared the fate of Theocracy, Monarchy, and 
Aristocracy. It is still preserved ; it leagues itself with 
money, and builds up anew in America the old cor- 
rupt family of the middle ages. In New York, it 
clothes the white flunkeys of the Hon. Dives Gotrich 
with an imitated livery ; in New Orleans, and in 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



331 



more than half the land, it takes those whom Nature 
has clothed in a sable livery, and makes them its 
slaves. Despotocracy alone could not accomplish 
this. The wickedness is foreign to the American 
Idea of a State, a community, or a church. But 
leaguing with money, which has taken the place of 
all those old institutions, it is this day the strongest 
power in the nation. 

Money having taken the place of these three insti- 
tutions, it must be politically represented in the 
nation by a party ; for a party is the provisional or- 
ganization of a tendency. So there is a party organ- 
ized about the Dollar as its central nucleus and idea. 
The dollar is the germinal dot of the Whig party ; 
its motive is pecuniary ; its motto should be, to state 
it in Latin, pecunia pecuniala, money moneyed, money 
made. It sneers at the poor ; at the many ; has a 
contempt for the people. It legislates against the 
poor, and for the rich ; that is, for men pecuniarily 
strong; the few who are born with the desire, the 
talent, and the conventional position to become rich. 
" Take care of the rich, and they will take care of the 
poor," is its secret maxim. Every thing must yield 
to money : that is to have universal right of way. 
Down with Mankind ! the Dollar is coming ! The 
great domestic object of Government, said the great- 
est Expounder of this party, " is the protection of 
property ; " — that is to say, the protection of money 



332 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



moneyed, money got. With this party there is no 
Absolute Right, no Absolute Wrong. Instead there- 
of, there is Expediency and Inexpediency. There is 
no law higher than the power to wield money just as 
you will. Accordingly a millionaire is reckoned by 
this party as the highest production of society. He 
is the Whig ideal ; he alone has attained " the meas- 
ure of the stature of a perfect man." 

Singular to say, most of the great public charities 
of America have been founded by men of this party ; 
most of the institutions of learning, the hospitals and 
asylums of all kinds. Drive out Nature with a dollar, 
still she comes back. 

But man is man, can a dollar stop him? For 
ever ? The instinct of development is as inextin- 
guishable in man as the instinct of perpetuation in 
blackbirds and thrushes, who build their procreant 
nests under all administrations, theocratic or demo- 
cratic. So there is another party which represents 
the Majority of the people ; that majority who have 
not money which is coveted, only the covetous 
desire thereof. This represents the acquisitive in- 
stinct of the people ; not acquired wealth ; not money 
moneyed, but money moneying, — pccunia pccunians, 
to state it Latin-wise. This is the Democratic party. 
It loves money as well as the Whig party, but has 
got less of it. However, with all its love of money, 
it has something of the momentum of the nation, 
something also of the instinct of mankind. 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



333 



To the "Whig party belong the rich, the educated, 
the decorous ; the established, — those who look back, 
and count the money got. To the other party be- 
long the young, the poor, the bold, the adventurous, 
everybody that is in want, everybody that is in debt, 
everybody who complains. The audacious are its 
rulers ; — often men destitute of lofty character, of 
great ideas, of Justice, of Love, of Religion — bold, 
smart, saucy men. This party sneers at the rich, and 
hates them ; of course it envies them, and lusts for 
their gold. It talks loudly against oppression in all 
corners of the world, except our own. The other party 
talks favorably of oppression, and shows its good side. 

The Democratic party appeals to the brute will of 
the majority, right or wrong; it knows no Higher 
Law. Its statesmanship is the power to enact into 
permanent institutions the transient will of the ma- 
jority : that is the ultimate standard. Popular and 
unpopular, take the place of right and wrong — vox 
populi, vox Dei; the vote settles what is, true, what 
right. It regards money made and hoarded as 
the foe of human progress, and so is hostile to the 
millionaire. The Whig calls on his lord, " Money, 
help us ! " To get money, the Democrat can do all 
things through the majority strengthening him. 

The Catholic does homage to the wafer which a 
baker made, and a celibate priest addressed in Latin ; 
it is to him the body of the Catholic God. The 
Protestant worships the Bible, a book written with 



334 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



ink, in Hebrew and Greek, "translated out of the 
original tongues, appointed to be read in churches." 
To him it is the word of God, the Protestant God. 
In the same way the Whig party worships money : 
it is the body of the Whig God ; there is no Higher 
Law above it. The Democratic party worships the 
opinion of the majority : it is the voice of the Demo- 
crat's God: there is no Higher Law. To the Whig 
party, — no matter how the money is got, by smug- 
gling opium or selling slaves, — it is pecnnia pecuni- 
ata, — money moneyed. To the Democratic party it 
is of no consequence what the majority wishes, or 
whom it chooses : Polk is as strong as Jackson, — 
when voted in ; and Pierce as great as Jefferson, — 
for office makes all men equally tall. Once the 
Democracy manfully protested against England's 
oppressing American sailors — but refused to protect 
a colored seaman; — and now it basely protests 
against America making any black man free. Once 
it went to war — righteously, perhaps, for aught I 
know — in order to take a Marblehead fisherman out 
of a British ship, where he had been wickedly im- 
pressed. Now the same Democracy covets Cuba 
and Mexico, and seeks to make slaves out of mill- 
ions of men, and spread slavery everywhere. If the 
majority wants to violate the Constitution of Amer- 
ica and the Declaration of Independence, or the 
Constitution of the Universe and the Declaration of 
God, why ! the cry is — " there is no higher law ! " 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



335 



" the greatest good of the greatest number ! " — What 
shall become of the greatest good of the smaller 
number ? 

There is, therefore, no vital difference between the 
Whig party and the Democratic party ; no difference 
in moral principle. The Whig inaugurates the 
Money got ; the Democrat inaugurates the Desire to 
get the money. That is all the odds. So in the 
times that try the passions, which are the souls of 
these parties, the Democrat and the Whig meet on . 
the same Baltimore platform. One is not higher and 
the other lower ; they are just alike. There is only 
a hand rail between the two, which breaks down if 
you lean on it, and the parties mix. In common 
times, it becomes plain that a Democrat is but a 
Whig on time ; a Whig is a Democrat arrived at 
maturity; his time has come. A Democrat is a 
young Whig who will legislate for money as soon 
as he has got it ; the Whig is an old Democrat who 
once hurrahed for the majority — "Down with 
money ! that is a despot ! and up with the desire for 
it ! Down with the rich, and up with the poor ! " 
The young man, poor, obscure, and covetous, in 
1812 was a Democrat, went a-privateering against 
England ; rich, and accordingly " one of our eminent 
citizens," in 1851 he was a Whig, and went a-kid- 
napping against Ellen Craft and Thomas Sims. 

Bedini's hand is " thicker than itself with brother's 
blood." Young Democrats very properly burnt him 



4 



336 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



in effigy. Old Democrats, wanting to be President, 
took him to their hearts. The young ones w ill also 
grow up in time to honor such future Nuncios of 
the Pope. I once knew a crafty family which had 
two sons; both men of ability, and of remarkable 
unity of "principle." The family invested one in 
each party, and as it had a head on either side of 
the political penny thrown into the air. the family 
was sure to win. A New England Family, wise in 
its generation! 

Now, I do not mean to say that all Democrats or 
all Whigs are of this way of thinking. Quite the 
contrary. There is not a Whig or Democrat who 
would confess it. The majority, so far as they have 
convictions, are very different from this ; but the 
Whig would say in his convention, that I told the 
truth of the Democratic party ; the Democrat, in his 
convention, would say, I told the truth of the Whigs. 
These ideas, — they reside in the two parties, as 
botany in this camelia, as chemistry in the water, as 
in the drop the gravitation which brings it to the 
ground : not a conviction, but a fact. Each of these 
parties has great good to accomplish. Both seem 
indispensable. Money must be looked after. It is 
a valuable thing; the human race could not do 
without property. It is the ladder whereby we scale 
the heavens of manhood. But property alone is 
good for nothing. The will of the majority must 
be respected. I honor the ideas of the Democratic 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



337 



party, and of the Whig party, so far as they are 
just. But man is not made merely for money ; the 
majority are the standard of power, not of Right. 
There is a law of God which directs the chink of 
every dollar ; it cannot roll except by the laws of the 
Eternal Father of Earth and Heaven. What if the 
majority enact iniquity into a statute ! Can millions 
make Wrong right? Justice is the greatest good 
of all. 

With little geographical check or interference from 
other nations, we are going on solving our problem 
of "manifest destiny." Since the establishment of 
Independence, America has made a rapid develop- 
ment. Her population has increased with unex- 
ampled rapidity; her territory has enlarged to receive 
her ever greatening family ; riches have been multi- 
plied faster even than their possessors. But some of 
the least lovely qualities of the Anglo-Saxon tribe 
have become dreadfully apparent. We have exter- 
minated the Indians ; we keep no treaties made with 
the red men ; they keep all. The national material- 
ism and indifference to great universal principles of 
Right shows itself clearer and clearer. Submission 
to Money or the Majority is the one idea that per- 
vades the nation. There are few great voices in the 
American churches which dare utter the Eternal 
Justice of the Infinite God and rebuke the wicked- 
ness of the nation, or talk as with a trumpet, Come 

vol. i. 29 



338 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



up higher. We have taken a feeble tribe of men 
and made them Slaves ; we kidnap the baby newly 
born ; tear him from his mother's arms, sell him like 
swine in the market ; the children of Jefferson and 
Madison are Slaves in the Christian Republic. The 
American treats his African victims with the intens- 
est scorn. Even in Boston, spite of Constitution 
and Statute Law, they are ignominiously thrust out 
of the common school. The Clergy are the anointed 
defenders of Slavery. The Whig party loves Slavery 
as a tool for making money ; the Democratic party, 
however, has the strongest antipathy to the African, 
and uses him for the same purpose. How many 
great American politicians care for him ? 

To obtain any considerable office in America, a 
man must conciliate one of these two — the Money 
power or the Majority power. But the particular 
body which sways the destinies of the nation, or its 
politics, is an army of Slaveholders, some three hun- 
dred thousand strong. They direct the money ; they 
sway the majority ; and are the controlling force in 
America. They have been so for more than sixty 
years. I cannot now stop and weary you with 
showing how they acquired the power, and how they 
administer it. 

In the history of mankind, this is the first attempt 
to found a State on the natural rights of man. It 
is not to be supposed that there should be national 
unity of action on so high a platform as that which 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



339 



the genius of Adams and Jefferson presented for the 
people then militant against oppression. There is a 
contradiction in the consciousness of the nation. In 
our industrial civilization, under the stimulus of love 
of wealth, and its consequent social and political 
power, we have made such a rapid advance in popu- 
lation and riches as no nation ever made. The 
lower powers of the understanding have also had a 
great development. We can plan, organize, and 
administer material means for material ends, as no 
nation has ever done. But it is not to be supposed 
that any people could pass all at once from the mili- 
tary civilization, with its fourfold despotism, to an 
industrial civilization with democracy in its Church, 
State, Community, and Family. How slowly we 
learn ; with what mistakes do we come to the true 
Idea, and how painfully enact it into a deed ! But 
see what results have come to pass. 

In 1776, there were about 784,093 miles of terri- 
tory ; now there are 3,347,451. Then there were 
about two and a half millions of people ; now there 
are four and twenty. In 1790, the annual revenue 
of America was less than four millions of dollars. 
Last year it was more than sixty-one. Then we had 
less than 698,000 Slaves ; now we have more than 
3,204,000. In 1776, Slavery was exceptional ; the 
nation was ashamed of it. In 1774, Mr. Jefferson 
had more democratic and Christian ideas than all 



340 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



Virginia has now. He said, " The abolition of domes- 
tic Slavery is the greatest desire of the American peo- 
ple." In the first draft of the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence, he condemned England for fastening Slavery 
upon us, forbidding us to abolish the Slave-trade. He 
trembled when he remembered that " God is just." 
The leading men of the nation disliked Slavery on 
principle. Some excused themselves for it, — " Eng- 
land forced it on us ; " some thought it " expedient 
as a measure ; " all thought it wrong as a principle. 

During the Revolution, the white Slaves who had 
been soldiers, became free ; there has not been any 
white Slavery — of the old kind — since '76. I 
know some families in this city whose parents came 
to America as Slaves — white Slaves, I mean. 
They were bought in England ; they were sold in 
America — sold under cruel laws. I should not like 
to mention their names ; but in 1850, they were the 
most desperate Hunkers that could be found. Born 
of Slaves, the iron had entered their contaminated 
souls, and they sought to enslave your brethren and 
my parishioners. These were the children of white 
Slaves. The Indians were set free by laws. In 
most of the States, attempts were made to free the 
blacks. All the New England States set them free ; 
— partly by the programme of principles in their 
Constitutions ; partly by the decisions of Courts ; 
partly by statute law, enacted by the Legislature. 
New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, soon followed. 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



341 



In twelve years after the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence, seven of the thirteen States had begun efforts 
to abolish Slavery forever. The truths of the Decla- 
ration, carried forward New England and other 
Northern States ; nay, the momentum of the Revo- 
lution carried the whole of Congress forward, and 
erelong, America performed two great acts, restrict- 
ing Despotocracy — establishing Freedom and not 
Bondage. Here they are. 

L In 1787, the General government had jurisdic- 
tion over the North- Western territory, and decreed 
that therein Slavery should never exist, to all time, 
save as a punishment for crime " duly convicted." 
On that spot, there have since grown up five great 
States ; Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wis- 
consin. Five great States, with four and a half mil- 
lions of men, and not a Slave. Near a million 
children went to the Schools of those States last 
year, and there is not a Slave. Out of 239,345 
square miles, there is not an inch of Slave soil, ex- 
cept what stands in the shoes of Senator Douglas 
and his coadjutors. That is the first thing. 

II. In 1808, America abolished the Slave-trade. 
Before that it was carried on from the harbors of 
New England ; Boston, Bristol, Newport, New 
York, added to their wealth by enslaving men. 
These were the great ports whence men cleared for 

29* 



342 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



Africa, to take in a cargo of Slaves. It is still car- 
ried on from New York and Boston — but secretly: 
then it was openly done. Some of you, whose 
hoary heads dignify and give a benediction to this 
audience, may perhaps remember the Great Rhode 
Island Slave-trader, who occasionally visited this 
city, and if your eyes ever saw him, I know that 
your hearts — then hot with youth — recoiled with 
indignation at such a sight — a stealer of men ! He 
seemed to be born for a Slave-trader ; he had a kid- 
napper's name on him at his birth. He was called 
Wolf! 

These are the two acts of the Federal government 
against Slavery since the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence. That is all that America has done against 
Slavery, in eight and seventy years. She has multi- 
plied her population tenfold, her revenue fifteen fold, 
and has abolished the Slave-trade, and prohibited 
Slavery in the North- Western territory. Now see 
what has been done in favor of Slavery. 

L This is the first step : in 17S7, America inau- 
gurated Slavery into the Constitution. 

1. She left it in the Slave States, as part of the 
" Republican " Institutions. 

2. Next, she provided that the owners of Slaves 
should have their property represented in Congress, 
five Slaves counting the same as three Freemen ; 
and, at this day, in consequence of this Iniquitous 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



343 



Act, for the 3.204.000 Slaves which she has stolen 
and unjustly holds, the South has delegates in Con- 
gress equal to the representation of almost two mil- 
lions of Freemen in New England. 

3. It was agreed, also, that Slaves escaping from 
the service of their masters into a Free State, 
should not thereby recover their freedom, but should 
be i; delivered up." 

Here were three concessions made to Slavery at 
first. They were at variance with the programme 
of principles in the Declaration; the programme of 
purpose in the Constitution's Preamble. They were 
known to be at variance with the religion of Jesus 
in the New Testament ; at variance with the laws 
of Nature and of God. The Convention was 
ashamed of the whole thing, and added hypocrisy to 
its crime : it did not dare mention the word Slave. 
That was the first great step against Freedom. It 
has cost us millions of people. We should have 
had a population counting millions more. It has 
cost us hundreds of millions of money. The Whig 
is poorer, the Democrat has a smaller majority. 
Aye, it has cost us what is worth more than both 
money and human life — it has cost manhood: it 
has caused us crime, falseness to our nature and 
our God. Just now the M Christian Republic n com- 
mits a greater offence against the fundamental prin- 
ciples of all morality, all religion, than the Russian 



344 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



or the Turk, or any Pagan despotism in the wide 
World ! 

How came it ? The North wanted a special 
privilege of Navigation ; and it let Slavery into the 
Constitution for that pitiful price. Mr. Gorham, a 
representative from Massachusetts, a Boston man, 
in the Convention, declared that Massachusetts 
wanted Union, not to defend herself, she could do 
so, and had done so, and had defended others along 
with her ; but she wanted a special privilege to 
trade. I am ashamed to confess it, — that was the 
Massachusetts which had just come out of the 
Revolutionary war. Here was a " compromise " be- 
tween the covetousness of the North, wanting a 
special privilege of navigation, and the idleness of 
the South wishing to eat but not to earn. Between 
these two mill-stones the African man was crushed 
into a Slave — a mere chattel " to all intents, con- 
structions, and purposes whatsoever." That was 
the first step. 

II. In 1792, America admitted Kentucky as a 
new State, made out of old soil, and established 
Slavery therein. That was the first act of Congress 
establishing new Slavery so far as she had power. 
Since then, America has thrice repeated the experi- 
ment ; — in 1796, establishing Slavery in Tennessee ; 
in 1817, in Mississippi ; and in 1819, in Alabama — 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



345 



three new States made afresh out of old Slave soil. 
That was the second step. 

III. In 1793, America adopted Slavery as a 
Federal Institution ; undertook herself, the Federal 
government, to seize and deliver up the Fugitive 
Slave. She took no such charge of other fugitive 
"property." She was not Field-driver for horses 
and mules, only the Hog-reeve for fugitive men, 
" endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable 
rights," " to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happi- 
ness." That was the third step ; and the great 
" Expounder of the Constitution " declared it was 
"wholly unconstitutional;" every free man, who 
thinks with a free mind, I am confident will say the 
same. 

IV. In 1803, Louisiana was purchased from 
France and organized into a territory, with Slavery 
in it. This was the first attempt of America to carry 
the hateful institution upon new soil, acquired since 
the Declaration of Independence. In 1812, Louisiana 
was admitted as a State with Slavery in it ; the first 
Slave State made out of new soil, acquired after the 
Declaration. Hitherto Slavery had been confined to 
the Atlantic slope of the continent ; in 179*2 the Fed- 
eral government established it in the valley of the 
Mississippi ; in 1803, for the first time, she carried it 
West of the great river. That was the fourth step. 



346 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



V. In 1819-20, Missouri was organized as a State ; 
in 1821, admitted with Slavery in it. Before this 
time, Slavery had receded from the North. On the 
Atlantic, it did not reach up to the fortieth parallel 
of latitude ; on the Mississippi, it sunk below the 
thirty-seventh. But by admitting Missouri, it all at 
once rose to the fortieth parallel of latitude. Here, 
however, there was a great battle. The South 
wanted Slavery to extend all the way from the Gulf 
of Mexico to the British line. The North wanted to 
restrict Slavery by the Mississippi river, and not 
carry it West. A few Northern men were bought 
up ; nothing is more marketable than Northern poli- 
ticians, Whig or Democrat, it makes no odds, both 
are lieges of the Almighty Dollar. Wickedness pre- 
vailed ; Missouri came in with her slaves. However, 
there was a " Compromise ; " — the celebrated Mis- 
souri Compromise, by which Slavery was restricted 
in the Louisiana territory North of 36° 30'. Then, 
all the territory South thereof was made over to that 
institution. In 1836, Arkansas was organized as a 
territory, and came in as a State with Slavery. In 
the territory of Louisiana, bought in 1803, there are 
now 423,172 Slaves. That was the fifth step. 

VI. In 1845, Florida was admitted as a Slave 
State, with a Constitution providing that the " Gen- 
eral Assembly shall have no power to pass laws 
emancipating Slaves," or to forbid emigrants to bring 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



347 



their Slaves with them. Here, Slavery was ex- 
tended over territory acquired for that purpose from 
Spain in 1819-21 ; made perpetual therein. It went 
down to the Gulf of Mexico, reaching far in. That 
was the sixth step. 

VII. In 1845, Texas was "reannexed" and ad- 
mitted as a State. This was territory whence the 
Mexicans had banished Slavery. Slavery was in 
the Constitution of Texas ; was carried West of the 
territory purchased of France, and spread over 
325,520 square miles. It was established in a terri- 
tory forty-three times greater than Massachusetts, by 
and by to be carved into more Slave States. This 
was the first time that America had ever established 
Slavery in a land whence any government had posi- 
tively driven it out. That was the seventh step. 

VIII. In 1848, at the conclusion of the war for 
plundering Mexico, by conquest and treaty, we ac- 
quired California, Utah, and New Mexico — a terri- 
tory of more than 596,000 square miles. This was 
coveted as new ground for the extension of Slavery. 
The Mexican war was begun and continued for 
Slavery ; the land was to be Slave soil. This was 
the first time we had conquered new land in battle 
for the sake of putting Slavery on it. That was the 
eighth step. 



348 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



IX. In 1850, you remember the cry, " The Union 
is in danger ! " — How lustily men roared : " The 
Union is in danger ! " — How the politicians talked, 
and the ministers ! The " pedlars of oratory " took 
the stump. You remember the " Boston eloquence " 
that screamed, and tottered and stood a tiptoe, and 
spread its fingers, and tore its hair, and invaded the 
very heavens with its scary speech ; — " The Union 
is in danger — this hour!" The celebrated Com- 
promise measures were passed. So far as it con- 
cerns this question, they consisted of the Fugitive 
Slave Bill — of which I do not think you wish me, 
at least, to speak again ; of the establishment of a 
territorial government in New Mexico and Utah, ex- 
tending Slavery over 407,667 square miles, — a terri- 
tory larger than fifty-three States of the size of Mas- 
sachusetts ; it paid Texas ten millions of money as 
a gift to Slavery. 

That was the greatest step of all since Slavery 
was inaugurated in the Constitution. It was the 
most insulting to the North ; it was most revolting 
to our political ideas and the principles of our pro- 
fessed religion. You remember the stir, and tumult, 
and storm. You have not forgotten the promise that 
" agitation was to cease." In 1852, the Whigs de- 
cided to " discountenance " agitation ; and the Dem- 
ocrats, being stronger and more audacious, declared 
that they would resist all attempts to renew the agi- 
tation on the question of Slavery, in Congress or out, 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



349 



in whatsoever shape. That was the ninth great 
step. 

In 1776, 'African Slavery existed in all the thirteen 
States. In a few years it shrunk Southward. In 
1790, the end of Delaware in 40° was its Northern 
Atlantic limit ; on the Mississippi, it fell away to 
less than 37°. Below the snaky line which separates 
Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky, on 
the South, from New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, 
on the North, East of the " Father of Waters," on 
the Atlantic slopes of the continent — the monster 
had scope and verge enough. North and West of 
these limits he dared not show his head. But in 
that year, America bought of Maryland and Vir- 
ginia a field " ten miles square," as Capital of the 
United States ; in 1800, the seat of government was 
transferred from Philadelphia to the District of Co- 
lumbia ; in 1802, Congress reenacted the Slave codes 
of Virginia and Maryland, extending them over the 
Capital of the nation. Behold the Federal govern- 
ment of the sole Christian Republic of the world has 
its head-quarters on Slave soil ! Congress had gone 
South — ominous change! Since that day, no 
State has abolished Slavery. It still exists in the 
six old States : Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North 
Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. It has 
spread into Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Missis- 
sippi, four new States, in twenty years made out of 

vol. i. 30 



350 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



the territory of the old States. It has been put 
anew into Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Florida, 
Texas, — five new States made out of territory ac- 
quired for extending the area of Slavery. It has 
been carried to Utah and New Mexico, — land plun- 
dered from Mexico for this purpose. The white 
polygamy of Joe Smith, and the black polygamy of 
men yet more shameless, there flourish side by side. 
It has spread over 1,051,523 square miles, where 
there was no legal Slavery at all in 1788. It has 
blotted the Mississippi Valley with more than 
1,580,000 Slaves. It has put Slavery in a popula- 
tion of 3.250,303 white persons, which else would 
never have had an entailment of this curse upon 
their property, their education, and their morality 
and their religion ! 

Why was all this? Has the South the most 
money, and so can buy up the North ? the most 
votes, and so can scare us by overwhelming num- 
bers ? Not at all ; the South is poor in money ; in 
numbers she is weak. The North is strong in both. 
The South wanted Slavery, the North did not want 
Freedom for the African. Before 1808, Northern 
clergymen occasionally ventured their little savings 
in the Slave-trade : since 1808, they obey with 
alacrity all attempts of the Slave power to blas- 
pheme the Higher Law of God ! At each step, the 
South becomes more imperious, more insulting. 
She has served us right! Nine times she has de- 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



351 



manded a sacrifice — nine times the North has 
granted the demand. In some twenty-four millions 
of men, every seventh man is a Slave ; the children 
of Jefferson and Madison are sold at public vendue. 
Senator Foote roared in the Capitol ; his father's 
sons were Slaves in the same street ! It is " a great 
country ; " a " Union " worth saving ! 

But who is to blame for all this ? The North has 
had the majority in the Federal councils from the 
beginning. It is the North who is to blame for 
these nine steps — for establishing, spreading, foster- 
ing, and perpetuating the worst institution where- 
with the Spaniard has dared to blot the Western 
continent. Who put Slavery in the Constitution; 
made it Federal ? who put it in the new States ? 
who got new soil to plant it in ? who carried it 
across the Mississippi — into Louisiana, Florida, 
Texas, Utah, New Mexico ? who established it in 
the Capital of the United States ? who adopted 
Slavery and volunteered to catch a runaway, in 
1793, and repeated the act in 1S50, — in defiance of 
all law, all precedent, all right ? Why. it was the 
North. " Spain armed herself with bloodhounds.'' 
said Mr. Pitt, " to extirpate the wretched natives of 
America." In 1850, the Christian Democracy set 
worse bloodhounds afoot to pursue Ellen Craft : 
offered them five dollars for the run, if they did not 
take her ; ten if they did ! The price of blood was 
Northern money ; the bloodhounds — they were 



352 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



Kidnappers born at the North, bred there, kennelled 
in her church, fed on her sacraments, blessed by her 
priests ! In 177S, Mr. Pitt had a yet harsher name 
for the beasts wherewith despotic "Spain hunted the 
red man in the woods — he called them " Hell 
Hounds" But they only hunted " savages, heathens, 
men born in barbarous lands.*' What would he say 
of the pack which in 1S51 hunted American Chris- 
tians, in the " Athens of America," and stole a man 
on the grave of Hancock and Adams — all Boston 
looking on, and its priests blessing the dead ! 

The Slave Power is now ready to take the tenth 
step. It wants these things : the acquisition of 
Cuba, the Mesilla Valley, the enslavement of Ne- 
braska. Of the first and second, I shall not now 
say any thing. The third is a most important mat- 
ter. It is an attempt to establish Slavery in a new 
country. First, in a country where it never existed 
to any extent. There is only one American in the 
territory known to have ever held a Slave. That is 
a missionary who went thither from Boston, and, for 
a thousand dollars, bought a man in Missouri, to 
serve as help for his sick wife, — the only Slave ever 
held by an American in Nebraska, so far as Senator 
Douglas is informed; and of all men the most, he 
ought to know. 

Next, it is an attempt by the Federal government 
to establish it in a territory where it has been pro- 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



353 



hibited by the Federal government itself, by the 
solemn enactment of Congress, made thirty-three 
years ago, at a time when all the North swore 
solemnly that it would not suffer Slavery to come 
North another inch. 

Do you know what is the population of Nebraska ? 
There are not one thousand Americans in it. There 
is a delegate from Nebraska at Washington. He had 
seventy votes, out of this vast territory ! There were 
two competitors, and I suppose there could not have 
been more than two hundred votes cast ; I doubt if 
there were one hundred. 

It is an immense territory, 485,000 square miles ; 
larger than sixty-two States of the size of Massachu- 
setts. It contains as much land as all the Thirteen 
States that fought the Revolution, and more than 
121,000 square miles besides. Draw a line from 
Trieste to Amsterdam, — Nebraska is larger than the 
part of Western Europe thus cut off. It contains 
more than all the Fourteen Free States East of the 
Mississippi : — Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, 
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New 
York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, 
Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin — and 83,393 
square miles over and above. It reaches from the 
Western boundary of Missouri to the Rocky Moun- 
tains. It extends from 37° North latitude to 49° — 
twelve degrees of latitude; and from 94° longitude 
to 114° — twenty degrees of longitude. Its waters 
30* 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



run to the Gulf of Mexico, to the Pacific Ocean, and 
to Hudson's Bay. The blood of the Slave will reach 
" Greenland's icy mountains," and stain the waters 
at the mouth of Baffin's Bay; the Saskatchawan, 
its great Northern river, will drain the Slave soil into 
Lake Winnepeg, and the keel of Captain Kane's 
ship, returning from his adventurous quest in the 
Arctic sea, will pass through waters that are dark- 
ened by the last great crime of America ! 

The Slave power has long been seeking to extend 
its jurisdiction. It has eminently succeeded. It fills 
all the chief offices of the nation ; the Presidents are 
Slave # Presidents ; the Supreme Court is of Slave 
.Judges, every one ; the District Judges, — you all 
know Judge Sprague, Judge Grier, Judge Kane. In 
all that depends on the political action of America, 
the Slave power carries the day. In what depends 
on industry, population, education, it is the North. 
The Slave power seeks to extend its institutions at 
the expense of humanity. The North works with it. 
In this century, the South has been foiled in only two 
efforts : to extend Slavery to California and Oregon : 
nine times it has succeeded. 

Now see why the South wishes to establish Sla- 
very in Nebraska. 

1. She wishes to gain a direct power in Congress. 
So she wants new Slave States, that she may have 
new Slave Senators to give her the uttermost power 
in the Senate of the United States. 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



355 



2. Next, she wishes indirectly to gain power by 
directly checking the rapid growth of the free States 
of the North. If Nebraska is free, the tide of immi- 
gration will set thither, as once to Ohio. Michigan, 
Illinois, as now to Wisconsin, Iowa 7 Minesota. 
There will be a rapid increase of free men, with their 
consequent wealth, education, ideas, democratic in- 
stitutions, free States, with consequent political 
power. 

All this the South wishes to avoid ; for the South 
— I must say it — is the enemy of the North. She 
is the foe to Northern industry — to our mines, our 
manufactures, and our commerce. Thrice, in my 
day, has she sought to ruin all three. She is the foe 
to our institutions — to our Democratic politics in 
the State, our Democratic culture in the school, our 
Democratic work in the community, our Democratic 
equality in the family, and our Democratic religion in 
the Church. Hear what a great Slave organ says of 
religion : — "The Bible has been vouchsafed to man- 
kind for the purpose of keeping us out of hell-fire and 
getting us into Heaven by the mysteries of faith and 
the inner life — not to teach us ethnology, govern- 
ment," etc. It is the Editor of the Richmond Exam- 
iner who says that : the American Charge at Turin. 

I say the South is the enemy of the North. Eng- 
land is the rival of the North, a powerful rival, often 
dangerous; sometimes a mean and dishonorable 



356 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



rival. But the South is our foe, — far more danger- 
ous, meaner, and more dishonorable. England keeps 
treaties; the South breaks faith. She broke faith 
individually, and Webster lies there a wreck on the 
shore of his own estate ; breaks it nationally, " and 
renews the agitation ! " I always knew she would ; 
I never trusted her lying breath ; I warned my broth- 
ers and sisters against it : now she fulfils the ex- 
pectation. She is the enemy of our material welfare 
and our spiritual development. Her success is our 
ruin. Our welfare shames her institutions, her ideas, 
and is the destruction to her " peculiar institution.*' 
She has been beaten in her effort to blot the Territory 
of Oregon with Slavery ; but she never surrenders. 
This I honor in the South, — she is always true to 
her own institution, and her own idea. I honor the 
man who, on Plymouth Rock, when the sons of the 
Puritans crouched and shrunk down, and scarce one 
brave word could get spoken for humanity and the 
great rights of man which our fathers brought across 
the sea, — I honor the Southern man who stood up 
and claimed that Slavery should be protected, on 
Plymouth Rock, and told one Northern candidate 
for the Presidency that he also had once offered and 
volunteered to shoulder his musket, " the old Middle- 
sex musket," and march South to put down an in- 
surrection of Slaves. I say, I honor a man's fidelity 
to his own principle, even if it is a base one. 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



3-57 



Such are the two general reasons why the South 
wishes Slavery in this new territory. But here is a 
third reason, quite special. 

3. There must be communication with the West. 
Three railroads are possible ; one lies through Mexi- 
can territory, but we have not got it, for the Gadsden 
treaty is not yet a fact accomplished : — two others 
lie through Nebraska territory. One or the other of 
them must be built. If Nebraska is free soil, the 
Slave master cannot take his slave across, for the 
law of the free soil makes the black man free. But 
if Nebraska is a Slave State, then the master can go 
there and carry his 44 chattels personal," — coffles of 
men, droves of women, herds of children, attended by 
the 44 missionary from Boston," and the bloodhounds 
of the kidnapper. She wants right of way for her 
institution ; a slave railroad from the Mississippi to 
the Pacific. Such are the reasons why she wants to 
establish Slavery there. 

See what encourages the South to make new en- 
croachments. She has been eminently successful in 
her former demands, especially with the last. The 
authors of the Fugitive Slave Bill did not think that 
enormity could be got through Congress : it was too 
atrocious in itself, too insulting to the North. But 
Northern men sprang forward to defend it — power- 
ful politicians supported it to the fullest extent. The 
worse it was, the better they liked it. Northern 
merchants were in favor of it — it 44 would conciliate 



358 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



the South." Northern ministers in all the churches 
of commerce baptized it, defended it out of the Old 
Testament, or the New Testament. The Senator of 
Boston gave it his mighty aid, — he went through 
the land a huckster of Slavery, peddling Atheism: 
the Representative of Boston gave it his vote. Their 
constituents sustained both ! All the great cities of 
the North executed the bill. The leading Journals of 
Boston advised the merchants to withhold all com- 
mercial intercourse from Towns which opposed Kid- 
napping. There was a " Union Meeting " at Faneuil 
Hall. You remember the men on the platform : the 
speeches are not forgotten. The doctrine that there 
is a Law of God above the passions of the multitude 
and the ambition of their leaders, was treated with 
scorn and hooting : a loud guffaw of vulgar ribaldry 
went up against the Justice of the Infinite God! All 
the great cities did the same. Atheism was inaugu- 
rated as the first principle of Republican govern- 
ment; in politics, religion makes men mad! Mr. 
Clay declared that " no Northern gentleman will ever 
help return a fugitive Slave ! " What took place at 
Philadelphia ? New York ? Cincinnati ? — nay, at 
Boston ? The Northern churches of commerce 
thought Slavery was a blessing, Kidnapping a 
" grace." The Democrats and Whigs vie with each 
other in devotion to the Fugitive Slave Bill. The 
" Compromises " are the golden rule. The North 
conquered her prejudices. The South sees this, and 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



359 



makes another demand. Why not ? I am glad of 
it. She serves us right. 

There is one thing more which helps her. The 
South, weak in numbers, weak in money, has yet a 
certain unity of idea, — that of Slavery. She has the 
political skill to control the money and the numbers 
of the North. She always makes the Presidents. 
As the Catholic priest takes a bit of baker's bread, 
and says, " Bread thou art, become a God ! " and the 
dough is God, — so the South takes any man and 
transubstantiates him, — " Thou art a man ! become 
a President ! " And by political transubstantiation 
Polk and Pierce are Presidents, to be "lifted up," to 
be " exhibited," set on high, and worshipped accord- 
ingly. Now the Northern lump covets exceedingly 
this presidential transubstantiation ; but to attain 
thereunto, it must be of the right leaven for the 
South. A new President is presently to be kneaded 
together, to be baked to the requisite hardness, tran- 
substantiated, and then set up in 1856. Several old 
Ephraims, alas ! cakes " not turned," begin to swell, 
and bubble, and crack, and break, hoping presently 
to be in condition to be transubstantiated. Some 
Northern dough is leavening itself to suit the South- 
ern taste. Alas ! " It is not in man that walketh to 
direct his steps." Many are leavened, but few rise. 
A Northern man, a bold adventurer, a bar-room poli- 
tician of Illinois, born in Vermont, they say, has long 



360 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



coveted Presidential transubstantiation. He has 
tempered his measures of meal with Southern 
leaven : he is a Slaveholder — not born so ; he 
courted Slavery and " married on ; " he has stirred 
into his character a great amount of appropriate 
leaven, — the M emptyings " of Southern firkins, the 
leavings of Southern feasts, the yeasty scum and 
froth of the Southern consciousness where Slavery 
heats and swelters and keeps up a perpetual fermen- 
tation. In 1S52, all his leaven was of no avail; even 
the heat of the Baltimore Convention could not 
make him rise to the requisite degree. Xow he adds 
more potent leaven, and drugs his Northern dough, 
hoping the lump will rise a Presidential loaf! 

Mr. Douglas has made his bid for the Presidency. 
He claims that the Missouri Compromise was 
abolished in 1850. Nobody knew it then ; not he 
himself: it is his last discovery. Then he claims 
that Congress has no right to say that Slavery shall 
not be in the territory. 

So the question is, shall we let Slavery into the 
two great territories of Kanzas and Nebraska ? 
That is a question of political Economy. Here it 
is. Shall men work with poor industrial tools, or 
with good ones ? Shall they have the varied indus- 
try of New England and the North, or the Slave 
labor of Virginia and Carolina? Shall their land 
be worth five dollars and eight cents an acre, as in 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



361 



South Carolina, or thirty dollars and a half as in 
Connecticut ? Shall the people all be comfortable, 
engaged in honest work, which enriches while it 
elevates ; or shall a part be the poorest of the world 
that a few may be idle and rich ? 

It is a question of political Morality. Shall the 
Government be a commonwealth where all are citi- 
zens, or an aristocracy where man owns his brother 
man ? Shall there be the schools of Ohio, or the 
ignorance of Tennessee ? Shall it be a virtue and 
a dignity to teach, as it is in the public schools of 
Boston ; a great charity, as some of you are admin- 
istering in private schools for the ignorant and poor ; 
or shall it be a crime, as in Virginia, where Mrs. 
Douglas, by sentence of Court, is now serving out 
her time in the House of Correction, for teaching a 
black child its letters? Shall there be the public 
libraries, newspapers, lectures, lyceums, of Massa- 
chusetts ; or the ignorance, the ignoble sloth of Mis- 
sissippi and Alabama ? Aye ! it is a question of 
domestic morality. Shall a man have a right to his 
own limbs, his liberty, his life ? Shall the mother 
own the babe that is born from her bosom ? Shall 
she be a maid, and keep her innocence and her 
honor? Shall she be a wife, faithful to him that 
she loves, or shall she be the instrument of a master's 
lust, who has the law to enforce rape and violence ? 
That is the question. 

It is a great religious question. Shall the pas- 

vol. i. 31 



362 THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 

sions and ambition of base men have rule in Ne- 
braska, or the natural law of the most High God ? 
The Unitarian Autumnal Convention at Worcester, 
debated the great question, whether men should 
have a Litany in the Churches. The American 
Tract Society, the American Missionary Society, 
have questions of similar magnitude, which come 
before them. This is not thought a religious ques- 
tion. It is only one which concerns the welfare of 
millions of men, in hundreds of years yet to come ; 
aye ! thousands ! The prayer of the Puritan, his 
self-denial, his trust in God, and love of the right, — 
they are the best inheritance New England ever got 
— shall we extend the best institutions of New Eng- 
land to Nebraska ; or shall we send there the Slave- 
driver with his whip, with his bloodhound, with his 

politician and his ! shall I say the next word ? 

I pass it by. That question must be answered in a 
month ; in one short month ; aye ! perhaps, in a 
week. 

In sixty years, Virginia has not doubled her popu- 
lation, while New York has ten times the population 
of 1790. The most valuable export of Virginia, is 
her Slaves, enriched by the " best blood of the old 
dominion ; " the " Mother of Presidents " is also the 
great Slave Breeder of America. Since she ceased 
to import bondmen from Africa, her Slaves become 
continually paler in the face ; it is the " effect of 
the climate " — and Democratic Institutions. One 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



363 



quarter of her Slaves have but one-fourth African 
blood in their veins ; half of her Slaves are half 
white. The Ethiopian is changing his skin. Be- 
neficent " effect of the climate " — and Democratic 
Institutions ! By the laws of Virginia, it is a crime 
punishable by imprisonment, to deny the master's 
right to hold his Slave ; it was lately proposed in 
her Legislature, to exclude from the jury-box all per- 
sons guilty of this opinion. Her present law pro- 
vides that men of three fourths white descent shall 
be free — it is now proposed to enslave all who have 
less than nine tenths Caucasian blood ; so the blood 
of "Jefferson and Sally," uncontaminated by any 
new African admixture, must pass through yet four 
other Slave-breeding Presidents before it is entitled 
to freedom ! New York has 862,507 children at her 
Public Schools. Virginia makes it a crime to teach 
writing and reading to Slaves. Her highest litera- 
ture is partisan newspapers and speeches ; her no- 
blest men are nothing but party politicians ; her chief 
manufacture is Slaves — children of her own Cau- 
casian loins, begotten for exportation. She stocks 
the plantations of Alabama and the bagnios of New 
Orleans. Shall we establish in Nebraska the insti- 
tutions of Virginia? Let the North answer. 

I know Northern politicians say, " Slavery will 
never go there ! " Do they believe their own word ? 
They believe it ! In 18*20, they said it could not go 
to Missouri ; then, there were but 10,222 therein ; 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



now. S?,4"2*2 ! more than a quarter of all the Slaves 
in the United States are North of 36° 3C. Despe- 
rate men from the Slave States of the Atlantic and 
the Mississippi, too miserable to reach California, 
will find their El Dorado in Nebraska, take Slaves 
there and work their lives out! It will be a better 
breeding State than Virginia herself. 

Congress, it is said, has no right to legislate for 
the people of the territory against Slavery. It must 
be left to the inhabitants thereof. There are 4S5,000 
square miles, — not 1,000 men, not two hundred 
voters. Shall two hundred squatters entail Slavery 
on a country as large as all Germany, Switzerland, 
France, Belgium, and Holland ? Is it u democratic n 
for Congress to allow two hundred stragglers in the 
wilderness, cheating the Indians, %wearing, violent, 
half of them unable to write or read, — is it demo- 
cratic in Congress to allow these vagabonds of the 
wilderness to establish the worst institution which 
Spain brought out of the middle ages ; which West- 
ern Europe casts off with scorn; which Russia 
treads under her feet ; which Turkey rejects with in- 
dignation, — and spread this over a country larger 
than the whole Roman Empire, when Julius Caesar 
was cradled in his mother's arms ? If it is so, let 
me go back and, O, most Imperial Nicholas ! let me 
learn political justice from thee, thou last great ty- 
rant of the Western world ! 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



365 



Suppose we grant this. — will that be the end? 
Suppose Slavery flows into Nebraska. — is that all ? 
This is the tenth time that Slavery has demanded a 
great wrong, and the North has said. - Yes. I will do 
it." Each time it has been a greater and worser 
wrong. Our great enemy demands sacrifices, not 
of interests but of principle; the sacred principle 
of natural right, allegiance to the Eternal God. 
14 Grant it/* say they. ;i or we will dissolve the Union." 
Presently that cry will be raised again. - Save the 
Union ! Oh ! save the Union." ~ The Union is in 
danger — this hour!" will be rung again in our 
deceived ears. Suppose it is granted. Only once 
in seventy years has the Southern demand been re- 
jected, — when she asked to put Slavery into Ore- 
gon. But the conscience of the North. — there is 
not much of it, — not enough to act, only to grum- 
ble, or perchance to swear. The conscience of the 
North complains. u Stop that agitation, or I will 
dissolve the Union at once." says the South. Then 
the North says again, u Hush ! Save the Union ! ■ 
and there will not be a whisper from Whig or 
Democrat. The Church has got its mean mouth 
sewed up with an iron thread. 

Then the South will demand again. - Grant us 
this demand, or we will dissolve the Union ! ** — and 
the same thing goes over and over again. Do you 
think the North fears a dissolution of the Union ? 
As much as I fear that this handful of flowers shall 
31* 



366 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



rise and strike the life out of my soul. No ! Xo ! 
Think not of that. Is it love of Country which 
prompts the Northern sacrifice of conscience ? Xo ! 
never! Never, no! It is love of the dollar. It is 
love of the power of the majority, of the Slave- 
holder's power, not love of man, but love of money. 
While the North can make money by the Union, 
there is no danger of dissolution ! 

Grant this, and see what follows. I omit the 
probable acts of individual States, over which Con- 
gress has no direct control. 

L The South will claim that the master has a 
right to take his Slaves into a free State — spite of 
its laws to the contrary — and hold them there — 
first, for a definite time, say seven years ; next, for 
an indefinite period in perpetuity. That will restore 
Slavery to the North and enable the sons of New 
England to return to their native land with their 
" chattels personal.'' Perhaps it will require no Act 
of Congress to do this — and M supersede " the Ordi- 
nance of 1737, or declare it " inoperative and void." 
The whole may be done any day by the Supreme 
Court of the United States ; any day when the 
President shall say, u Down with you, Judges. Do 
as you are bid." Whigs and Democrats can do all 
things through money, which strengtheneth them ! 
will the North consent ? Why not, nothing is so 
supple as the Northern neck. 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



367 



II. Then the South will seek more Slave terri- 
tory. Here is what is wanted : — a part of Mexico, 
— the Gadsden treaty stipulates for about 39.000.000 
acres, eight States as large as Massachusetts ; Cuba, 
which the Slave power has long coveted ; Porto 
Rico ; Hayti, which the Democratic Christians hate 
with such bitterness ; Jamaica and the other West 
Indies ; the Sandwich Islands ; other parts of the 
Northern and Southern continent. Slavery must be 
put in all these places. Will the North consent ? 
Why not? habit makes all things easy. What an 
excellent u field for religious enterprise " Hayti would 
be, if this Republic should restore Slavery to St. 
Domingo ! Conquer your prejudices ! 

III. Then she will seek to restore the African 
Slave-trade. Here are the steps. 1, to authorize 
any State to import Slaves : 2. to authorize any in- 
dividual to do so in spite of the adverse laws of any 
State which will be declared "inoperative and void." 
or " superseded."' I can foresee the arguments for 
the measure — Whig and Democratic — Yes, the 
theological arguments, drawn from the Bible, from 
" conscience and the Constitution.'' Some future 
Unitarian Doctor of Divinity, I suppose, for a " con- 
sideration " will be afraid of a " dissolution of the 
Union" and solve the problem of human destina- 
tion by offering to sacrifice his own brother, sister, 
wife, daughter, mother ! Will the North consent ? 



368 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



Why stop at the thirteenth demand and not at the 
first, at the ninth? Is it worse to steal Northern 
men in Africa, than Christian babies in Virginia? 
Worse to steal the son of Pnmbo Jumbo than the 
daughters of Jefferson ! Why should not the North 
consent — all the Slaves are to be voluntary M Mis- 
sionaries for civilization and Christianity ! " What 
is there which the North will not consent to ? 

Some of you may live long enough to see all this. 
The Union has been in danger five times, and five 
times saved by sacrifice of those principles which lie 
at the basis of the nation, and are its glory. Is that 
too sad a prophecy, even to be spoken ? It is not 
worse for the fifty years to come, than for the fifty 
years past; it is only the history of the last fifty 
years. 

In 1775, what if it had been told the men all red 
with battle at Lexington and Bunker Hill, — "your 
sons will gird the Court House with chains to kid- 
nap a man ; Boston will vote for a Bill which puts 
the liberty of any man in the hands of a Commis- 
sioner, to be paid twice as much for making a Slave 
as for declaring a freeman ; and Boston will call out 
its soldiers to hunt a man through its streets l n 
What if on the 19th of April, 1775, when Samuel 
Adams said, " Oh ! what a glorious morning is 
this ! " as he heard the tidings of war in the little 
village where he passed the night, — what if it had 
been told him, — "that on the 19th of April, seventy- 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



369 



six years from this day, will your City of Boston 
land a poor youth at Savannah, having violated her 
own laws, and stained her Magistrates' hands, in 
order to put an innocent man in a Slave-master's 
jail?" What if it had been told him that Ellen 
Craft must fly out of Democratic Boston, to Mon- 
archic, Theocratic, Aristocratic England, to find 
%helter for her limbs, her connubial innocence, and 
the virtue of her woman's heart ? I think Samuel 
would have cursed the day in which it was said a 
man-child was born, and America was free ! What 
if it had been told Mayhew and Belknap, that in the 
pulpits of Boston, to defend kidnapping should be 
counted to a man as righteousness ? They could 
not have believed it. They did not know what base- 
ness could suck the Northern breast, and still be 
base. 

Who is to blame ? The South ? Well, look and 
see ! In the House of Representatives there are 
eighty-eight Southern men ; there are one hundred 
and forty-four from the North. In the Senate, the 
South has thirty, the North thirty-two. But out of 
the two and thirty Northern Senators, not twelve 
men can be found to protest against this wicked 
Bill. The President is a Northern man ; the Cabi- 
net has a majority from the North ; the Committee 
of Senators who reported this Bill has a majority of 
Northern men ; its Chairman is a Northern man. 

The very men who enacted the Fugitive Slave 



370 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



Law turn pale ; but what do they do ? They do 
nothing! Where is the North? Where has it been 
these fifty years back — at the feet of the South. 
Where are the Northern ideas — where is the North- 
ern conscience, the Northern right! O, tell me, 
where ? Is it in your Legislature ? Listen ! See 
if you can hear any faint breathings of the great 
Northern heart, that fought the war of Independence. 
At least, it is in the Cities. Listen ! In Boston, 
the " great men " who control Church and State — 
they have called Conventions, have they ; prepared 
resolutions — got them ready — had preliminary 
meetings — have they? Nothing of it. There is 
not a mouse stirring amongst them. It is all right, 
I suppose, in the little towns ? There is the North- 
ern heart — a great conscience, that says, " Give me 
Liberty or give me Death ! " — " Resistance to 
tyrants is obedience to God!" Listen to Massa- 
chusetts ! Can you hear any thing ? Well, I am a 
Minister. It is in the pulpits of the North, perhaps. 
Hark ! The Bible rustles, as that Southern wind, 
heavy with Slavery, turns over its leaves rich in 
benedictions; and I hear the old breath come up 
again — "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" 
— " Inasmuch as ye have not done it unto one of 
the least of these my brethren, ye have not done 
it unto me." Is that the voice of the pulpit? O, 
no ! That is the voice of a Hebrew peasant ; a poor 
woman's son. In his own time, they said " He hath 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



371 



a devil." They hung him as a "blasphemer," an 
"infidel." That is not the Pulpit's voice. Listen 
again. Here it is : " I would send back my own 
mother." That is the answer of the American Pul- 
pit. Eight and twenty thousand Protestant Minis- 
ters! The foremost sect of them all debated, a little 
while ago, whether it should have a Litany, and on 
what terms it should admit young men to the com- 
munion table — allow them to drink "grocers' wine," 
and eat " bakers' bread," on the " Lord's day," in the 
" Lord's house ; " and never dared to lift that palsied 
hand, in which was once the fire and blood of Chan- 
ning, against the world's mightiest sin. Eight and 
twenty thousand Protestant ministers, and not a sect 
that is opposed to Slavery! O, the Church! the 
Church of America ! False to the great prophets of 
the Old Testament, the great world's Prophet of the 
New ; false to the fathers whose bloody knees once 
kissed the Rock of Plymouth ! 

The Northern conscience, the Northern religion, 
the Northern faith in God — where is it? Is it in 
the midst of the people — the young men and the 
young women ; in your hearts and in my heart ? 
Let us see. Let our actions speak. Now is the 
time ; a month hence may be too late ; aye, a week, 
and the deed may be done. Let us, at least, be 
manly, and do our part. 

Well let us contend bravely against this wicked 
device of men who are the enemies alike of America 



372 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



and Mankind. I call on all men who love man and 
love God, to oppose this extension of Slavery. Talk 
against it, preach against it, print against it — by all 
means, act against it. Call meetings of the Towns 
to oppose it, of the Congressional districts, of the 
State, yea, of all the Free States. Make a fire in 
the rear of your timid servants in Congress. Let us 
fight manfully, contesting the ground inch by inch, 
till at last we are driven back to the Rock of Ply- 
mouth. There let us gather up the wreck of the 
Old Ship which brought over the three churches of 
Plymouth, Salem, Boston, — whose children have so 
often proved faise, — therewith let us build anew our 
Mayflower, make Plymouth our Delft-haven, launch 
again upon the sea, sailing to Greenland or to Africa, 
bv prayer to lay other deep foundation?, and in the 
wilderness to build up the glorious liberty of the 
sons of God. 

But we shall not toil in vain. Slavery is nothing. 
It exists only by a whim. Theocracy is nothing. 
Monarchy is nothing, Aristocracy nothing. America 
has no " Pope," no M King," no " Noble ; " a breath 
unmakes them as a breath once made. Slavery is no 
more if we say it ; the monster dies. In one day the 
North could annihilate all the Slavery which depends 
on the Federal Government — abolish it on the Fed- 
eral soil, the Capital, and the Territories ; abolish the 
American Slave- Trade, declare it piracy, or other 
felony. That would be only common legislation. 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



373 



The next day we could abolish it in the Slave States. 
That would be Revolution. 

America has one great enemy — Slavery, our 
deadliest foe. Do you believe it is always to last ? 
I tell you no ! O, young America ! are you sure 
there is no law higher than love of money and 
power ? sure there is no Justice ? no God ? Quite 
sure of that ? Men have sometimes been mistaken 
who reckoned without that Host. 

Political economy is against Slavery ; it is a poor 
tool to work with. Compare Kentucky and Ohio, 
Virginia with Pennsylvania and New York! Do 
you believe that shifty Americans will always use 
the poor, rude instrument of the savage ! They love 
riches too well. How weak Slavery makes a nation ! 
In time of war how easy it would be for the enemy 
to raise up the 385,000 Slaves of South Carolina 
against the 283,000 whites ! Where would then be 
the " chivalry " of that mediaeval State ? 

Slavery hinders the education and the industry of 
the people ; it is fatal to their piety. Think of a 
religious kidnapper ! a Christian Slave-breeder ! a 
Slave-trader loving his neighbor as himself, receiving 
the " sacraments " in some Protestant Church from 
the hand of a Christian Apostle, then the next day. 
selling babies by the dozen, and tearing young 
women from the arms of their husbands, to feed the 
lust of lecherous New Orleans ! Imagine a religious 
man selling his own children into eternal bondage ! 

vol. i. 32 



374 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



Think of a Christian defending slavery out of the 
Bible, and declaring there is no Higher Law, but 
Atheism is the first principle of Republican govern- 
ment ! 

" Slavery is the sum of all villanies ; " what can 
save it ? Things refuse to be mismanaged for ever. 
All the world is against us. It is only in America 
that Slave-trading, Slave-breeding is thought Chris- 
tian and Democratic. Mr. Slatter, who had become 
rich by trading in the souls of men, and famous for 
preserving the Union, in his Slave-pen at the Capital 
of the Christian Republic, once entertained the Presi- 
dent of the United States at his costly house in Bal- 
timore ; — I forget whether it was Southern Mr. 
Polk, or Northern Mr. Fillmore ; Slavery has thrown 
down the partition wall between Whig and Demo- 
crat. What European Despot would have eaten 
salt with a man whose business was to sell misery 
by the wholesale, and to retail the agony of women ? 
Even the mediaeval Pope, the slave of stronger des- 
pots, who appropriately sends us his red-handed 
Bedini, to be lauded by aspirants for the Presidency 
— would shrink from this. No Russian despot has 
his sons as slaves to wait on him at table. You 
must come to America to find a Cossack President 
who could boast that honor! Do you believe this 
wickedness is always to continue ? Can the Anglo- 
Saxon become Spanish ? New England like Bolivia, 
Peru, Laguira, Mexico ? The wheels of time turn 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



375 



not back. We cannot break the continuity of human 
history. See how mankind marches towards freedom, 
each step a Revolution. See what has been done in 
four hundred years, for the freedom of man in Italy, 
France, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, or even in 
Spain! Lay down your ear to the great deep of 
Humanity, and hearken to the ground-swell which 
goes on therein. That roar of mighty waters, does it 
whisper security to the tyrant ? The next four hun- 
dred years what shall it do against Theocracy, Mon- 
archy, Aristocracy, Despotocracy ? 

See what the Anglo-Saxon in Europe has done 
for freedom since the first James ! Compare the 
England of 1854, with the England of 1604. What 
a growth of liberal institutions ; of freedom in the 
people ! England loving liberty, loving law, goes 
on still building up the Cyclopaean walls of Human- 
ity, the Bulwark of Freedom for mankind. See 
what the same Anglo-Saxon has done in America. 
Compare the Colonies of 1754, with the States of 
1854. What a progress ! Are we to stop here •? 

See what Massachusetts has done. Slavery was 
always a contradiction in the consciousness of New 
England. So in 1641, Massachusetts enacted that 
" there shall never be any bond Slavery, villanage, or 
captivity amongst us, unless it be lawful captives 
taken in just wars," etc. In 1646, the Colony bore 
" witness against the heinous and crying sin of man- 
stealing," and restored to Guinea some captives 



\ 



376 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



wickedly taken thence. But yet Slavery existed, and 
cruel laws afflicted its victims. Listen to the follow- 
ing. In 1636, " it is ordered that no servant shall be 
set free — until he have served out the time cove- 
nanted : " that i; when any servants shall run away 
from their masters .... it shall be lawful for the 
next magistrate, or the constable and two of the 
chief inhabitants where no magistrate is, to press 
men and boats or pinnaces at the public charge, to 
pursue such persons by sea or land, and bring them 
back by force of arms." In 1703, a law forbade 
negro, mulatto, or Indian servants or Slaves " to be 
found abroad in the night time after nine o'clock." 
They were "to be openly whipped by the constable." 
If a negro or mulatto should strike any person of 
the English, — he was to be " severely whipped at 
the discretion of the Justices." In 1705, a duty of 
four pounds was levied on each Slave imported, and 
a drawback allowed in case he was " exported with- 
in the space of twelve months." Marriage between 
white and black was illegal; a fine of fifty pounds 
punished the officer who joined the parties. It is 
not a hundred years since Slaves were sold in Mas- 
sachusetts, children were torn from their parents. 
The charms of young women were advertised in the 
public print. In less than a hundred years, two 
Slaves were burned alive on Boston Neck for poison- 
ing their master. Now Massachusetts has torn these 
wicked laws from her Statute-book. It is only Bos- 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 377 

ton which turns a black boy out of her Public School. 
Do you think the Northern men love Slavery, the 
people love it? In all the parties there are noble 
men who hate American Slavery. They know it is 
a wicked thing ; they despise their politicians who 
seek to perpetuate it, and loathe the purchased 
Priests who justify the iniquity in the name of God ! 
Each of the nine sacrifices to Slavery has been un- 
popular at the North. Only the politicians approved 
them. The Constitution was adopted with difficulty. 
New England hated its inauguration of Slavery as 
a power in the Republic. The Fugitive Slave Bill 
of 1793 — why, even Washington did not venture to 
pursue his Slave by its authority and seize her. She 
was safe even in the native State of Webster and of 
Pierce ! The Mexican War was unpopular. It 
was not " with alacrity " that the North obeyed the 
wicked act of 1850. Boston saw her saddest day 
when she kidnapped Thomas Sims. It could not be 
done but with chains round the Court House, Judges 
crawling under, and a regiment of flunkeys billeted 
in Faneuil Hall. If the question of the enslavement 
of Nebraska were this day put to the vote of the 
people, in nineteen twentieths of all the towns of the 
North, nineteen twentieths of the voters would say 
No. The people are right, though, alas, not very 
earnest. There are a few politicians, also, who hate 
Slavery. There are noble ministers of all sects save 
the Catholic, true to their high calling, honoring the 

32* 



378 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



great Philanthropist they worship, who hate Ameri- 
can Slavery, and preach against it in spite of the 
Pharisee, the Sadducee, and the Hypocrite, who 
thereupon tighten against the minister the strings of 
the Parish purse. I have no words to tell how much 
I honor such men ! True ministers Of Christ, they 
put the churches of commerce to continual shame. 
I never knew of a Catholic Priest who favored free- 
dom in America ; a Slave himself, the mediaeval the- 
ocracy eats the heart out from the celibate Monk ! 

Slavery is one great enemy of America, but there 
is one other foe — corrupt politicians filibustering for 
the Presidency, defending Slavery out of the New 
Testament, volunteering to shoulder their musket 
and shoot down men claiming their unalienable 
rights; politicians who deny God's Higher Law, 
who call upon us to conquer our prejudices against 
wickedness, inaugurating Atheism as the first princi- 
ple of Government. In 1788, they put Slavery into 
the Constitution ; in 1850, they enacted iniquity into 
Law ; and in 1854, they are about their old work 
M saving the Union." Shall such men always pre- 
vail ! the mediaeval Catholic against the free minister 
of piety ! The corrupt politician fillibustering for 
office against the people — the American idea in 
their heads, and Humanity in their hearts ! Even 
the Catholic shall learn. 

Slavery must die. See how Monarchy withdrew 
in front of White Hall in 1648 ! How Slavery dis- 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



379 



appeared from Saint Domingo in 1790 ! Shall 
American Slavery end after that sort, or as it ended 
in New England ; as Old England put it down in 
Jamaica ? Down it must. God does not forget. 
His Justice is wrought into the world's great heart. 
See what changes perplex the monarchs of the world 
— with what strides Mankind goes forward ! The 
fourth tyrant must follow to the same tomb with the 
rest. It is for you and me to slay him ! 

Half a million immigrants annually find a shelter 
on our shores. " Westward the star of empire takes 
way." Aye, it will come Eastward — and Asia 
already begins to send us her children. What a 
noble destination is before us if we are but faithful. 
Shall politicians come between the people and the 
eternal Right — between America and her history! 
When you remember what our fathers have done ; 
what we have done — substituted a new industrial 
for a military state, the self-rule of this day for the 
vicarious government of the middle ages ; when you 
remember what a momentum the human race has 
got during its long run — it is plain that Slavery is 
on the way to end. 

As soon as the North awakes to its ideas, and uses 
its vast strength of money, its vast strength of num- 
bers, and its still more gigantic strength of educated 
intellect, we shall tread this monster underneath our 
feet. See how Spain has fallen — how poor and 



380 



THE NEBRASKA QUESTION. 



miserable is Spanish America. She stands there a 
perpetual warning to us. One day the North will 
rise in her majesty, and put Slavery under our feet, 
and then we shall extend the area of freedom. The 
blessing of Almighty God will come down upon the 
noblest people the world ever saw — who have tri- 
umphed over Theocracy, Monarchy, Aristocracy, 
Despotocracy, and have got a Democracy — a gov- 
ernment of all, for all, and by all — a Church with- 
out a Bishop, a State without a King, a Community 
without a Lord, and a Family without a Slave. 



AN ADDRESS 



ON THE 



CONDITION OF AMERICA, 



BEFORE THE 



NEW YORK CITY ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY, 



FIRST ANNIVERSARY, 



HELD AT THE BROADWAY TABERNACLE, 



MAY 12, 1854 



ADDRESS. 



Ladies and Gentlemen : — I shall ask your atten- 
tion, this evening, to some few thoughts on the pres- 
ent condition of the United States in respect to 
Slavery. After all that has been said by. wise, 
powerful, and eloquent men in this city, this week, 
perhaps I shall have scarce any thing to present that 
is new. 

As you look on the general aspect of America to- 
day, its main features are not less than sublime, 
while they are likewise beautiful exceedingly. The 
full breadth of the continent is ours, from sea to sea, 
from the great lakes to the great gulf. There are 
three million square miles, with every variety of cli- 
mate, and soil, and mineral ; great rivers, a static 
force, inclined planes for travel reaching from New 
Orleans to the Falls of St. Anthony, from the mouth 
of the St. Lawrence to Chicago ; smaller rivers, a 
dynamic force, turning the many thousand mills of 



384 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



the industrious North. There is a coast most richly 
indented, to aid the spread of civilization. The 
United States has more than twelve thousand miles 
of shore line on the continent ; more than nine thou- 
sand on its islands ; more than twenty-four thousand 
miles of river navigation. Here is the Material 
Groundwork for a great State — not an empire, 
but a Commonwealth. The world has not such 
another. 

There are twenty-four millions of men ; fifteen and 
a half millions with Anglo-Saxon blood in their 
veins — strong, real Anglo-Saxon blood; eight mill- 
ions and a half more of other families and races, just 
enough to temper the Anglo-Saxon blood, to furnish 
a new composite tribe, far better, I trust, than the 
old. What a Human Basis for a State to be erected 
on this material groundwork ! 

On the Eastern Slopes of the continent, where the 
high lands which reach from the Katahdin moun- 
tains in Maine to the end of the Appalachians in 
Georgia — on the Atlantic slopes, where the land 
pitches down to the sea from the 48th to the 28th 
parallel, there are fifteen States, a million square 
miles, communicating with the ocean. In the South, 
rivers bear to the sea rice, cotton, tobacco, and the 
products of half-tropic agriculture ; in the North, 
smaller streams toil all day, and sometimes all night, 
working wood, iron, cotton, and wool into forms of 
use and beauty, while iron roads carry to the sea the 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



385 



productions of temperate agriculture, mining, and 
manufactures. 

On the Western slope, where the rivers flow down 
to the Pacific Ocean from the 49th to the 32d paral- 
lel, is a great country, almost eight hundred thousand 
square miles in extent. There, too, the Anglo-Saxon 
has gone ; in the south, the gold-hunter gathers the 
precious metals, while the farmer, the miner, and the 
woodman collect far more precious products in the 
north. 

In the Great Basin between the Cordilleras of the 
West and the Alleghanies, where the Mississippi 
drains half the continent to the Mediterranean of the 
New World, there also the Anglo-Saxon has occu- 
pied the ground — twelve hundred thousand square 
miles ; in the south to rear cotton, rice, and sugar ; 
in the north to raise cattle and cereal grasses, for 
beast and for man. 

What a spectacle it is! A nation not eighty 
years old, still in its cradle, and yet grown so 
great. Two hundred and fifty years ago, there was 
not an Anglo-Saxon on all this continent. Now 
there is an Anglo-Saxon commonwealth twenty-four 
millions strong. Rich as it is in numbers, there are 
not yet eight men to the square mile. 

All this is a Republic ; it is a Democracy. There 
is no born priest to stand betwixt the nation and its 
God ; no Pope to entail his " nephews " on the 
Church ; no bishop claiming divine right to rule over 

vol. i. 33 



386 CONDITION OF AMERICA. 

the people and stand betwixt them and the Infinite. 
There is no king, no born king, to ride on the 
nation's neck. There are noble-men, but none 
Noble-born to usurp the land, to monopolize the 
government and keep the community from the bosom 
of the earth. The people is Priest and makes its 
own religion out of God's revelation in man's nature 
and history. The people is its own King to rule 
itself; its own Noble to occupy the earth. The 
people make the laws and choose their own magis- 
trates. Industry is free ; travel is free ; religion is 
free ; speech is free ; there are no shackles on the 
press. The nation rests on industry, not on war. 
It is formed of agriculturists, traders, sailors, miners 
— not a nation of soldiers. The army numbers ten 
thousand — one soldier for every twenty -four thou- 
sand men. The people are at peace; no nation 
invades us. The government is firmly fixed and 
popular. A nation loving liberty, loves likewise 
law; and when it sets a plant of liberty, it fences it 
all round with law as high up as the hands can reach. 
We annually welcome four hundred thousand im- 
migrants who flee from the despotism of the Old 
World. 

The country is rich — after England, the richest 
on earth in cultivated lands, roads, houses, mills. 
Four million tons of shipping sail under the Ameri- 
can flag. This year we shall build half a million 
tons more, which, at forty dollars a ton, is worth 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



3^7 



twenty millions of dollars. That is the ship crop. 
Then, the corn crop is seven hundred millions of 
bushels of Indian com. What a harvest of coal, 
copper, iron, lead, of wheat, cotton, sugar, rice, is 
produced ! 

Over all and above all these there rises the great 
American Political Idea, a " self-evident truth " — 
which cannot be proved — it needs no proof: it is 
anterior to demonstration ; namely, that every man 
is endowed by his Creator with certain unalienable 
rights, and in these rights all men are equal : and on 
these the government is to rest, deriving its sole 
sanction from the governed's consent. 

Higher yet above this material groundwork, this 
human foundation, this accumulation of numbers, of 
riches, of industry — as the cross on the top of a 
tall, wide dome, whose lantern is the great American 
political idea — as the cross that surmounts it rises 
the American Religious Idea — one God: Chris- 
tianity the true religion ; and the worship of God 
by Love ; inwardly it is Piety, love to God. — out- 
wardly love to man — morality, benevolence, philan- 
thropy. 

What a spectacle to the eyes of the Scandinavian, 
the German, the Dutchman, the Irishman, as they 
view America from afar ! What a contrast it seems 
to Europe. There liberty is ideal ; it is a dream : 
here it is organic, an institution ; one of the Estab- 
lishments of the land. 



388 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



That, ladies and gentlemen, is the aspect which 
America presents to the oppressed victims of Euro- 
pean despotism in Church and in State. Far off on 
the other side of the Atlantic, among the Apennines, 
on the plains of Germany, and in the Sclavonian 
lands, I have met men to whom America seemed 
as this fair-proportioned edifice that I have thus 
sketched out before your eyes. But when they 
come nearer, behold half the land is black with 
Slavery. In 1850, out of more than two hundred 
and forty hundred thousand Americans, thirty- 
two hundred thousand were slaves — more than 
an eighth of the population counted as cattle ; not 
as citizens at all. They are only human material, 
not yet wrought into citizens : — nay, not counted 
human. They are cattle, property; not counted 
men, but animals and no more. Manhood must 
not be extended to them. Listen while I read to 
you from a Southern print. It was recommended 
by the Governor of Alabama that the Legislature 
should pass a law prohibiting the separation of fam- 
ilies ; whereupon the Richmond Enqui?'er discourses 
thus : " This recommendation strikes us as being 
most unwise and impolitic. If slaves are property, 
then should they be at the absolute disposal of the 
master, or be subject only to such legal provisions as 
are designed for the protection of life and limb. If 
the relation of master and slave be infringed for one 
purpose, it would be difficult to fix any limit to the 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



3S9 



encroachment." They are property, no more, and 
must be treated as such, and not as men. 

Slavery is on the Atlantic slopes of the con- 
tinent. There are one million six hundred thou- 
sand slaves between the Alleghany range and the 
Atlantic coast. Slavery is in the central basin. 
There are a million and a half of slaves on the land 
drained by the Mississippi. Spite of law and con- 
stitution, Slavery has gone to the Pacific slopes, 
travelling with the gold-hunter into California. The 
State whose capital county "in three years com- , 
mitted over twelve hundred murders " has very ap- J 
propriately legalized Slavery for a limited time. I 
suppose it is only preliminary to legalizing it for a 
time limited only by the Eternal God. In the very 
capital of the Christian Democracy there are four 
thousand purchased men. In the Senate-house, a 
few years ago, a Mississippi Senator belched out his 
imprecations against that one New Hampshire Sen- 
ator who has never yet been found false to humanity. 
]\Ir. Foote was a freeman, a citizen, and a " demo- 
crat " ; and while, in the halls of Congress, he was 
threatening to hang John P. Hale on the tallest pine 
tree in Mississippi, there toiled in a stable, whose j 
loft he slept in by night, one of that Senator's ownj 
brothers. The son of Mr. Foote's father was a slave 
in the capital of the United States, while his half- 
brother — by the father's side — threatened to hang 
on the tallest pine in Mississippi the only Senator 
33* 



390 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



that New Hampshire sent to Washington who dared 
be true to truth and free for freedom. 

But a few years ago, Mr. Hope H. Slatter had his 
negro market in the capital of the United States ; 
one of the greatest slave-dealers in America. He 
was a member also, it is said, of a " Christian 
church." The slave-pen is a singular institution for 
a democratic metropolis, and the slave-trader a pecu- 
liar ornament for the Christian church in the capital 
of a democracy. He grew rich, went to Baltimore, 
had a fine house, and once entertained a " President 
of the United States n in his mansion. The slave- 
trader and the democratic President met together — 
Slatter and Polk ! fit guest and fitting host ! 

In all the three million square miles of American 
land there is no inch of free soil, from the St. Johns 
to the Rio Gila, from Madawasca to San Diego. 
The star-spangled banner floats from Vancouver's 
Island by Nootka Sound to Key West on the south 
of Florida, and all the way the flag of our Union is 
the standard of Slavery. In all the soil that our 
fathers fought to make free from English tyr- 
anny, there is not an inch where the black man 
is free, save the five thousand miles which Daniel 
Webster surrendered to Lord Ashburton by 
the treaty of 1842. The symbol of the Union 
is a fetter. The President should be sworn on the 
auction-block of a slave-trader. The New Hampshire 
President, in his Inaugural, declared, publicly, his 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



391 



allegiance to the slave power — not to the power of 
northern mechanics, free farmers, free manufacturers, 
free men ; but allegiance to the slave power ; he 
swears special protection to no property but " prop- 
erty " in slaves ; specific allegiance to no law but the 
Fugitive Slave Bill ; devotion to no right but the 
slaveholder's ' ; right " to his property in man. 

The Supreme Court of the United States is a slave 
court; a majority of the Senate and of the House of 
Representatives the same. It has been so this forty 
years. The majority of the House of Representatives 
are obedient to the lords of the lash ; a majority of 
Northern politicians, especially of that denomination 
which is called " dough-faces," are only overseers for 
the owner of the slave. Air. Douglas is a great over- 
seer ; Mr. Everett is a little overseer. 

The nation offers a homestead out of its public 
land ; it is only to the white man. "What would you 
say if the Emperor of Russia offered land only to 
nobles ; the Pope only to priests ; Queen Victoria 
only to lords ? Each male settler in Utah, it seems, 
is to have four hundred and eighty acres of land, if 
he is not married, and a hundred and sixty more, I 
believe, according to one proposition, for every wife 
that he has got. But if he have the complexion of 
the only children that Madison left behind him, he 
can have no land at all. 

Even a Boston school-house is shut against the 



392 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



black man's children. The arm of the city govern- 
ment slams the door in every colored boy's face. His 
father helps pay for the public school ; the son and 
daughter must not come in. 

In the slave States, it is a crime to teach the slave 
to read and write. Out of four millions of children 
of America at school in 1850, there were twenty-six 
thousand that were colored. There were more than 
four hundred thousand free colored persons, and 
there were more than two hundred and fourteen 
thousand thereof under the age of twenty ; of these, 
there were at school only twenty-six thousand — one 
child in nine ! Out of three and a quarter millions of 
slaves, there was not one at school. It is a crime by 
the statute in every slave State to teach a slave to 
spell " God." He may be a Christian ; he must not 
write " Christ." He must worship the Bible ; he 
must not read it ! It is a crime even in a Sunday 
school to teach a child the great letters which spell 
out " Holy Bible." I knew a minister, he was a 
Connecticut man, too, who went off from New Or- 
leans because he did not dare to stay ; and he did 
not dare to stay because he tried to teach the slave 
to read in his Sunday school. He went back to 
Connecticut, whence he will, perhaps, go as mission- 
ary to China or Turkey, and find none to hinder his 
Christian work. 

At the North, the black man is shut out of the 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



393 



meeting-house. In Heaven, according to the the- 
ology of America, he may sit down with the just 
made perfect, his sins washed white " in the blood 
of the Lamb ; " but when he comes to a certain 
Baptist church in Boston, he cannot own a pew. 
And there are few churches where he can sit in a 
pew. The rich and the poor are there ; the one 
Lord is the Maker of them all ; but the Church 
thinks He did not make the black as well as the 
white. Nay ; he is turned out of the omnibus, out 
of the burial-ground. There is a burial-ground in 
this State, and in the deed which conveys the land it 
is stipulated that "no colored person or convict " 
can ever be buried there. He is turned out of the 
graveyard, where the great mother of our bodies 
gathers our dust when the sods of the valley are 
sweet to the soul. Nowhere but in the jail and on 
the gallows has the black man equal rights with 
the white in our American legislation ! 

The American Press — it is generally the foe of 
the slave, the advocate of bondage. 

In Virginia, it is felony to deny the master's right 
to own his slaves. There is an old law reenacted in 
the revision of the Virginia statutes, which inflicts a 
punishment of not more than one year's confinement 
on any one guilty of that offence. It was proposed 
in the Virginia Legislature, last winter, that if a 
man had conscientious objections to holding slaves, 
he should not be allowed to sit on any jury where 



394 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



the matter of a man's freedom was in question. 
Nor is that all. There is a law in Virginia, it is 
said, that when a man has three quarters white 
blood in his veins, he may recover his freedom in 
virtue of that fact. It is well known that at least 
half the slaves in Virginia are half white and one 
quarter of them three quarters white. Accordingly, 
it was proposed in one of their newspapers that this 
old law should be repealed, and another substituted 
providing that no man should recover his freedom in 
consequence of his complexion, unless he had more 
than nine tenths white blood in his veins. 

The slave has no rights ; the ideas of the Declara- 
tion of Independence are repudiated ; he is not " en- 
dowed by his Creator" with "certain unalienable 
rights" to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happi- 
ness." 

Listen to what a Southern editor says. I am 
quoting now from one of the most powerful South- 
ern journals, printed at the capital of Virginia, the 
Richmond Examiner, and the words which I read 
were written by the American Charge* d 'Affaires at 
Turin. He says: "The foundation and right of 
negro Slavery is in its utility and the fitness of 
things ; it is the same right by which we hold prop- 
erty in domestic animals." The negro is " the con- 
necting link between the human and brute creation." 
" The negro is not the white man. Not with more 
safety do we assert that a horse is not a hog. Hay 



CONDITION OP AMERICA. 



395 



is good for horses — but not for hogs; liberty is good 
for white men, but not for negroes." " A law ren- 
dering perpetual the relation between a negro and 
his master is no wrong, but a right." 

Then in reply to some writer in the Tribune, who 
had asked, " Have they no souls," he says, " They 
may have souls, for ought we know to the contrary ; 
so may horses and hogs." Then, when somebody 
quotes the Bible in behalf of the rights of men, 
he answers : " The Bible has been vouchsafed to 
mankind for the purpose of keeping us out of hell- 
fire and getting us into heaven by the mysteries of 
faith and the inner life ; not to teach us govern- 
ment, political economy," etc. 

The American Church repudiates the Christian 
religion when it comes to speak about the African. 
It does not apply the golden rule to the slave. The 
"servants" of the New Testament, in the Greek 
language, were " slaves," and the American Church 
commands them to be obedient to their masters. 
There must be no marriage — the afTectional and 
passional union of one man and one woman for life 
— only transient concubinage. Marriage is incon- 
sistent with Slavery, and the slave wedlock in the 
American Church is not a Sacrament. " Manifest 
destiny " is the cry of politicians, and that demands 
Slavery : " The will of God " is the cry of the 
priests, and it demands the same thing. I am 
not speaking of ministers of Christianity ; they are 



396 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



a very different sort of men, and preach a very differ- 
ent creed from that — only of the ministers in the 
Churches of Commerce. According to the popu- 
lar theology of all Christendom, Jesus Christ came 
on earth to seek and to save that which is lost. 
The Good Physician does not go among the whole, 
but among the sick. If he were to come here to 
seek to relieve the slave, the leading men in the 
American denominations would tell him he came 
before he was called ; he ran before he was sent — 
that it was no mission from God to break a single 
American fetter, nor to let the oppressed go free. Is 
not the " Constitution " above " Conscience," and 
the Fugitive Slave Bill more holy than the Bible ; 
the commissioner of more authority than Christ ? 

" Oh, Faith of Christians, hast thou wandered there 
To waft us home the message of despair, 
Then bind the palm thy sage's brow to suit 
Of blasted leaf and death-distilling fruit." 

Such is the aspect of America when the immi- 
grant comes near and looks the nation in the face. 
What a spectacle that is to put along-side of the 
other ! Europe repudiates bondage — Scandinavia, 
Holland, France, England. Since Britain emanci- 
pated her slaves, the present Emperor of Russia has 
set free over seven millions of slaves that belonged 
to his own private domain, and established more 
than four thousand schools, free for those seven 
millions of emancipated slaves ; and did he not fear 



cotamoB of America. 



an outbreak in a country where u revolution is 
endemic," he would set free the other five and thirty 
millions that occupy his soil to-day. And when he 
enlarges his territory, he never extends the area of 
bondage, only the area of what in Russia is freedom. 

What a spectacle ! A country reaching from sea 
to sea. from the Gulf of tropic heat to Lake Supe- 
riors arric cold, and not an inch of free soil all the 
way! Three millions of square miles, and not a 
foot where a fugitive from Slavery can be safe ! A 
democracy, and every eighth man bought and sold ! • 

It is the richest nation in the world, after England ; 
yet, we are so poor that every eighth man is unable 
to say that he owns the smallest finger on his fee- 
blest hand. So poor are we amid our riches, that 
every eighth woman is to such an extent a pauper 
that she does not own the baby she has borne : nor 
even the baby that she bears. Maternity is put 
up at public vendue, and the auctioneer says, ** So 
much for the mother and so much for the hopes 
and expectations of another life that is to be 
born!" 

America calls herself u the best educated nation 
in the world," and yet, in fifteen Democratic States, 
it is a felony by statute to teach a child to know the 
three letters which spell ■ God." What a spectacle 
is that ! 

Nor is this all ; but able men, well educated and 
well endowed, come forward to teach us that Slavery 
vol. i. 34 



39S CONDITION OF AMERICA. 

is not only no evil, but is " right as a principle/' and 
is - divine ? ' — is a " part of the divine revelation " 
which the great God miraculously made to man. 
What a spectacle ! 

Four hundred thousand immigrants come here 
openly every year, and a thousand fugitives flee off' 
by night, escaping from American despotism. They 
go by the Underground Railroad, shut up in boxes 
smaller than a coffin, or, as lately happened, riding 
through the storms of Ocean in the fore-chains of a 
- packet-ship, wet by every dash of the sea, and frozen 
by the winter's wind. Far off in the South the 
spirit of freedom came in the Northern blast to the 
poor man, and said to him, " It is better to enter 
into freedom halt and maimed rather than, having 
two hands and two feet, to continue in bondage for- 
ever ; f and he puts himself in the fore-chains of a 
packet-ship, and, half frozen, with the loss of two of 
his limbs, he reaches the North, and thanks God that 
he has still one hand and one foot to enter into free- 
dom with. Alas, he is carried back, halt and 
maimed, to die ; then he goes from bondage to that 
other Commonwealth, where even the American 
slave is free from his master, and Democrats " cease 
from troubling." 

America translates the Bible — I am glad of it, 
and would give my mite thereto — into a hundred 
and forty-seven different tongues, and sends mission- 
aries all over the world ; and here at home are three 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



399 



and a quarter millions of American men who have 
no Bible, whose only missionary is the overseer. 

In the Hall of Independence, Judge Kane and 
Judge Grier hold their court. Two great official 
kidnappers of the middle States hold their slave- 
court in the very building where the Declaration of 
Independence was decreed, was signed, and thence 
published to the world. What a spectacle it is! 
We thought, a little while ago, that Judge Jetfries 
was a historical fiction ; that Scroggs was impossi- 
ble : we did not think such a thing could exist. 
Jeffries is repeated in Philadelphia ; Scroggs is 
brought back to life in New York and Boston and 
various Northern towns. What a spectacle is that 
for the Swiss, the German, and the Scandinavian 
who come here! 

Do these immigrants love American Slavery ? 
The German, the Swiss, the Scandinavian hate it. 
I am sorry to say there is one class of men that come 
here who love it ; it is the class most of all sinned 
against at home. When the Irishman reaches 
America, he takes ground against the African. I 
know there are exceptions, aud 1^ would go far to 
honor them ; but the Irish, as a body, oppose the 
emancipation of the blacks as a body. Every sect 
that comes from abroad numbers friends of freedom 
— except the Catholic. Those who call themselves 
infidels from Germany do not range on the slave- 
holder's side. I have known some men who take 



400 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



the ghastly and dreadful name of Atheist ; but they 
said " there is a Law higher than the slaveholder's 
statute." But do you know a Catholic priest who 
is opposed to Slavery ? I wish I did. There are 
good things in the Catholic faith — the Protestants 
have not wholly outgrown it yet. But I wish I 
could hear of a single Catholic priest of any 
eminence who ever cared any thing for the freedom 
of the most oppressed men in America. I have 
heard of none. 

Look a little closer. The great interests prized 
most in America are Commerce and Politics. The 
great cities are the head-quarters of these. Agricul- 
ture and the mechanic arts are spread abroad all 
over the country. Commerce and politics predom- 
inate in the cities. New York is the metropolis of 
Commerce ; Washington of Politics. 

What have been the views of American Com- 
merce in respect to freedom ? It has been against 
it ; I am sorry to say so. In Europe commerce is the 
ally of freedom, and has been so far back that the 
memory of man runs not to the contrary. In Amer- 
ica, the great commercial centres, ever since the Rev- 
olution, have been hostile to freedom. In Massa- 
chusetts we have a few rich men friendly to freedom 
— they are very few ; the greater part of even Mas- 
sachusetts capital goes towards bondage — not 
towards freedom. In general, the chief men of 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



401 



commerce are hostile to it. They want first money, 
next money, and money last of all ; fairly if they can 
get it — if not, unfairly. Hence, the commercial 
cities are the head-quarters of Slavery; all the mer- 
cantile capitals execute the Fugitive Slave Bill — 
Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Buffalo, Cincin- 
nati ; — only small towns repudiate man-stealing. 
The Northern capitalists lend money and take slaves 
as collateral ; they are good security ; you can realize 
on it any day. The Northern merchant takes slaves 
into his ships as merchandise. It pays very well. 
If you take them on a foreign voyage, it is "pi- 
racy ; " but taken coastwise, the domestic slave-trade 
is a legal traffic. In 1852, a ship called the " Ed- 
ward Everett " made two voyages from Baltimore to 
New Orleans, and each time it carried slaves, once 
twelve, and once twenty. 

A sea captain in Massachusetts told a story to the 
commissioners sent to look after the Indians, which 
I will repeat. He commanded a small brig, which 
plied between Carolina and the Gulf States. " One 
day, at Charleston," said he, " a man came and 
brought to me an old negro slave. He was very old, 
and had fought in the Revolution, and had been much 
distinguished for bravery and other soldierly quali- 
ties. If he had not been a negro, he would have 
become a Captain at least, perhaps a Colonel. But, 
in his old age, his master found no use for him, and 
said he could not afford to keep him. He asked me 

34* 



402 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



to take the revolutionary soldier and carry him South 
and sell him. I carried him," said the man, "to 
Mobile, and I tried to get as good and kind a master 
for him as I could, for I didn't like to sell a man who 
had fought for his country. I sold the old revolu- 
tionary soldier for a hundred dollars to a citizen of 
Mobile, who raised poultry, and he set him to tend a 
hen-coop." I suppose the South Carolina master, 
w a True gentleman," drew the pension till the soldier 
died. " How could you do such a thing ? " said my 
friend, who was an Anti- Slavery man. " if I didn't 
do it," he replied, u I never could get another bale of 
cotton, nor a box of sugar, nor any thing to carry 
from or to any Southern port." 

In Politics, almost all the leading men have been 
servants of Slavery. Three "major prophets" of the 
American Republic have gone home to render their 
account, where ? the servant is free from his master 
and the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary 
are at rest." Clay, Calhoun, Webster ; they were all 
Prophets of Slavery, all against freedom. No men of 
high political standing and influence have ever lived 
in this country who were fallen so low in the mire of 
Slavery as they during the last twenty years. No 
political footprints have sunk so deep into the soil — 
all their tracks run towards bondage. Where they 
marched, Slavery followed. 

Our Presidents must all be pro-slavery men. John 
Quincy Adams even, the only American politician, 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 403 

thus far, who inherited a great name and left it 
greater, as President did nothing against Slavery that 
has yet come to light ; said nothing against it which 
has yet come to light. The brave old man. in his 
latter days, stirred up the nobler nature in him, and 
amply repaid for the sins of omission. But the other 
Presidents, a long line of them — Jackson, Van 
Buren, Harrison, — they are growing smaller and 
smaller, — Tyler, Polk, Taylor, who was a brave, 
earnest man, and had a great deal of good in him — 
and now they begin rapidly to grow very small, — 
Fillmore, Pierce — can you find a single breath of 
freedom in these men? Not one. The last slave 
President, though his cradle was rocked in New 
Hampshire, is Texan in his latitude. He swears 
allegiance to Slavery in his inaugural address. 

Is there a breath of freedom in the great federal 
officers — secretaries, judges ? Ask the Cabinet ; 
ask the Supreme Court; the federal officers. They 
are, almost without exception, servants of slavery. 
Out of forty* thousand government officers to-day, I 
think thirty-seven thousand are strongly pro-slavery ; 
and of the three thousand who are at heart anti- 
slavery, we have yet to listen long before we shall 
hear the first anti-slavery lisp. I have been listen- 
ing ever since the fourth of March, 1853. and have 
not heard a word yet. In the English Cabinet there are 
various opinions on important matters ; here the ad- 
ministration is a unit, a unit of bondage. In Russia, 



404 CONDITION OF AMERICA. 

a revolutionary man sometimes holds a high post and 
does great serv ice ; in America, none but the servant 
of Slavery is fit for the political functions of Democ- 
racy. I believe, in the United States there is not a 
single editor holding a government office who says 
any thing against the Nebraska bill. They do not 
dare. Did a Whig office-holder oppose the Fugitive 
Slave Bill or its enforcement ? I never heard of one. 
The day of office, like the day of bondage, " takes off 
half a man's manhood," and the other half it hides ! 
A little while ago, an Anti- Slavery man in Massa- 
chusetts carried a remonstrance against the Nebraska 
bill, signed by almost every voter in his town, to the 
postmaster, and asked him, " Will you sign it ? " 
" No, I shan* t, v said he. « Why not ? Before he 
answered, one of his neighbors said, " Well,' I would 
not sign it if I was he." m Why not ? n said the man. 
u Because if he did, he would be turned out of office 
in twenty-four hours; the next telegraph would do 
the business for him." " Well," said my friend, " if I 
held an office on that condition, I would get the big- 
gest brass dog-collar I could find and put it round 
my neck, and have my owner's name on it, in great, 
large letters, so that everybody might see whose dog 
I was." 

In the individual States, I think there is not a 
single Anti- Slavery governor. I believe Vermont 
is the only State with an Anti-Slavery Supreme 
Court ; and that is the only State which has not 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



405 



much concern in commerce or manufactures. It is 
a State of farmers. 

For a long time the American Government has 
been controlled by Slavery. There is an old story 
told by the Hebrew rabbis, that before the flood 
there was an enormous giant, called Gog. After 
the flood had got into the full tide of successful ex- 
periment, and every man was drowned except those 
taken into the ark, Gog came striding along after 
Noah, feeling his way with a cane as long as a 
mast of the M Great Republic.*' The water had only 
come up to his girdle. It was then over the hill 
tops and was still rising — raining night and day. 
The giant hailed the Patriarch. Noah put his head 
out of the window, and said, u Who is there ? " K It 
is I," said Gog. M Take us in ; it is wet outside ! " 
u No," said Noah, K You 're too big ; no room. Be- 
sides, you 're a bad character. You would be a very 
dangerous passenger, and would make trouble in the 
ark ; 1 shall not take you in. You may get on top 
if you like : " and he clapped to the window. - ; Go 
to thunder," said Gog ; " I will ride, after all." And 
he strode after him, wading through the waters ; and 
mounting on the top of the ark, with one leg over 
the larboard and the other over the starboard side, 
steered it just as he pleased and made it rough 
weather inside. Now, in making the Constitution, 
we did not care to take in Slavery in express terms. 



406 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



It looked ugly. We allowed it to get on the top 
astride, and now steers us just where it pleases. 

The Slave Power controls the President, and fills 
all the orfices. Out of the twelve elected Presidents, 
four have been from the North, and the last of them 
might just as well have been taken by lot at the 
South anywhere. Mr. Pierce, I just now said, was 
Texan in his latitude. His conscience is Texan; 
only his cradle was of New Hampshire. Of the 
nine Judges of the Supreme Court, five are from 
the slave States ; the Chief-Justice is from the slave 
States ; all slave Judges. A part of the Cabinet are 
from the North — I forget how many ; it makes no 
difference ; they are all of the same Southern com- 
plexion ; and the man who was taken from the 
furthest north, I think is most southern in his 
Slavery proclivities. 

The nation fluctuates in its policy. Now it is for 
internal improvements ; then it is against them. Now 
it is for a bank ; then a bank is " unconstitutional.' , 
Now it is for free trade ; then for protection ; then for 
free trade again — " protection is altogether unconsti- 
tutional/' Mr. Calhoun turned clear round. — When 
the North went for free trade and grew rich by that, 
Calhoun did not like it, and wanted protection : he 
thought the South would grow rich by it But 
when the North grew rich under protection, he turned 
round to free trade again. Now the nation is for 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



407 



giving away the public lands. Sixteen millions of 
acres of " swamp lands " are given, within seven 
years, to States. Twenty-five millions of the public 
lands are given away gratuitously to soldiers — six 
millions in a single year. Forty-seven millions of 
the public lands to seventeen States for schools, col- 
leges, etc. Forty-seven thousand acres for deaf and 
dumb asylums. And look ; just now it changes its 
policy, and Mr. Pierce is opposed to granting any 
land — u it is not constitutional" — to Miss Dix. to 
make the insane sober and bring them to their right 
minds. He may have a private reason for keeping 
the people in a state of craziness, for aught I 
know. 

The public policy changes in these matters. It 
never changes in respect to Slavery. Be the Whigs 
in power, Slavery is Whig ; be the Democrats, it is 
Democratic. At first, Slavery was an exceptional 
measure, and men tried to apologize for it and excuse 
it. Now it is a Normal Principle, and the institution 
must be defended and enlarged. 

Commercial men must be moved, I suppose, by 
commercial arguments. Look, then, at this state- 
ment of facts. 

Slavery is unprofitable for the people. America is 
poorer for Slavery. I am speaking in the great focus 
of American commerce — the third city for popula- 



408 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



tion and riches in the Christian world. Let me, 
therefore, talk about Dollars. America, I say, is 
poorer for Slavery. If the three and a quarter mill- 
ions of slaves were freemen, how much richer would 
she be ? There is no State in the Union but it is 
poorer for Slavery. It is a bad tool to work with. 
The educated freeman is the best working power in 
the world. 

Compare the North with the South, and see what 
a difference in riches, comfort, education. See the 
superiority of the North. But the South started 
with every advantage of nature — soil, climate, every 
thing. To make the case plainer, let me take two 
great States, Virginia and New York. Compare 
them together. 

In geographical position, Virginia has every ad- 
vantage over New York. Almost every thing that 
will grow in the Union will grow somewhere in Vir- 
ginia, save sugar. The largest ships can sail up the 
Potomac a hundred miles, as far as Alexandria. The 
Rappahannock, York, James, are all navigable rivers. 
The Ohio flanks Virginia more than three hundred 
miles. There are sixty miles of navigation on the 
Kanawha. New York has a single navigable stream 
with not a hundred and fifty miles of navigation, 
from Troy to the ocean. Virginia has the best harbor 
on the Atlantic coast, and several smaller ones. Your 
State has but a single maritime port. Virginia 
abounds in water power for mills. I stood once on 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



409 



the steps of the Capitol at Washington and within 
six miles of me, under my eyes, there was a water 
power greater than that which turns the mills of 
Lawrence, Lowell, and Manchester, all put together. 
In 1836, it did not turn a wheel ; now, I am told, it 
drives a grist-mill. No State is so rich in water 
power. The Alleghanies are a great water-shed, and 
at the eaves the streams rush forward as if impatient 
to turn mills. Virginia is full of minerals — coal, 
iron, lead, copper, salt. Her agricultural resources 
are immense. What timber clothes her mountains ! 
what a soil for Indian corn, wheat, tobacco, rice! 
even cotton grows in the southern part. Washington 
said the central counties of Virginia were the best 
land in the United States. Daniel Webster, reporting 
to Virginians of his European tour, said, he saw " no 
lands in Europe so good as the valley of the Shen- 
andoah." Virginia is rich in mountain pastures favor- 
able to sheep and horned cattle. Nature gives Vir- 
ginia all that can be asked of Nature. What a 
position for agriculture, manufactures, mining, com- 
merce ! Norfolk is a hundred miles nearer Chicago 
than New York is, but she has no intercourse with 
Chicago. It is three hundred miles nearer the mouth 
of the Ohio ; but if a Norfolk man wants to go to 
St. Louis, I believe his quickest way lies through 
New York. It is not a day's sail further from Liver- 
pool ; it is nearer to the Mediterranean and South 
American ports. But what is Norfolk, with her 
vol. i. 35 



410 CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



-.23.000 tons of shipping and her fourteen thousand 
population ? What is Richmond, with her twenty- 
seven thousand men — ten thousand of them slaves? 
Nay, what is Virginia herself, the very oldest State ? 
Let me cypher out some numerical details. 

In 1790, she had 748,000 inhabitants; now she 
has 1,421,000. She has not doubled in sixty years. 
In 1790, New York had 340,000; now she has 
3,048.000. She has multiplied her population almost 
ten times. In Virginia, in 1850, there were only 
45*2,000 more freemen than sixty years before; in 
New York, there were 2,724,000 more freemen than 
there were in 1790. There are only 165,000 dwell- 
ings in Virginia ; 463,000 in New York. Then the 
Virginia farms were worth $216,000,000; yours, 
§554,000,000 ; Virginia is wholly agricultural, while 
you are also manufacturing and commercial. Her 
farm tools were worth $7,000,000 ; yours, $22,000,- 
000. Her cattle, §33,000,000; yours, $73,000,000. 
The orchard products of Virginia were worth $177,- 
000; of New York, $1,762,000. Virginia had 478 
miles of railroad ; you ha'd 1,826 miles. She had 
74,000 tons of shipping ; you had 942,000. The 
value of her cotton factories was not two millions ; 
the value of yours was four and a quarter millions. 
She produced $841,000 worth of woollen goods; 
you produced $7,030,000. Her furnaces produced 
two millions and a half; yours produced eight mil- 
lions : her tanneries $894,000; yours, $9,804,000. 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



411 



All of her manufactures together were not worth 
§9,000,000 ; those of the city of New York alone, 
have an annual value of $105,000,000. Her attend- 
ance at school was 109,000 ; yours, 693,000. 

But there is one thing in which Virginia is far in 
advance of you. Of native Virginians, over twenty 
years old, who could not read the name of " Christ " 
nor the word " God" — free white people who can- 
not spell " Democrat " — there were 87,383. That is, 
out of every five hundred free white persons, there 
were one hundred and five that could not spell 
Pierce. Li New York there are 30,670 — no more; 
so that out of five hundred persons, there are six that 
cannot read and write. Virginia is advancing rap- 
idly upon you in this respect. In 1840 she had only 
58,787 adults who could not read and write ; now 
28,596 more. So you see she is advancing ! 

Virginia has 87 newspapers; New York, 428. 
The Virginia newspaper circulation is 89,000 ; the 
New York newspaper circulation is 1,622#00. The 
Tribune — and I think it is the best paper there is in 
the world — has an aggregate circulation of 110,000 ; 
20,000 more than all the newspapers of Virginia. 
Virginia prints every year 9,000,000 copies of news- 
papers, all told. New York prints 115,000,000. 
The New York Tribune prints 15,000,000 — more 
than the whole State of Virginia put together. 
Such is the state of things counted in the gross, but 
I think the New York quality is as much better as 
the quantity is more. 



412 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



Virginia has 88,000 books in libraries not private ; 
New York 1,760,000, — more than twenty times as 
much. Virginia exports $3,500,000 worth each year ; 
New York $53,000,000. Virginia imports $426,000 ; 
New York, $111,000,000. But in one article of ex- 
port she is in advance of you — she sends to the 
man-markets of the South about $10,000,000 or 
$12,000,000 worth of her children every year ; ex- 
ports slaves! The estimated value of all the prop- 
erty real and personal in the State of Virginia, in- 
cluding slaves, is $430,701,882; of New York 
$1,080,000,000, without estimating the value of the 
men who own it. Virginia has got 472,528 slaves. 
I will estimate them at less than the market value — 
at $400 each ; they come to $189,000,000. I sub- 
tract the value of the working people of Virginia, 
and she is worth not quite $242,000,000. Now, the 
State of New York might buy up all the property of 
Virginia, including the slaves, and still have $649,- 
000,000 left ; might buy up all the real and personal 
property of Virginia, except the working-men, and 
have $838,000,000 left. The North appropriates the 
rivers, the mines, the harbors, the forests, fire and 
water — the South kidnaps men. Behold the com- 
mercial result. 

Virginia is a great State — very great ! You do not 
know how great she is. I will read it to you presently. 
Things are great and small by comparison. I am 
quoting again from the Richmond Examiner (March 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 413 

24, 1854). " Virginia in this confederacy is the im- 
personation of the well-born, well-educated, well- 
bred aristocrat 93 [well born, while the children of 
Jefferson and the only children of Madison are a 
" connecting link between the human and brute cre- 
ation ; " well educated, with twenty-one per cent, of 
her white adults unable to read the vote they cast 
against the unalienable rights of man ; well bred, 
when her great product for exportation is — the 
children of her own loins! Slavery is a "patriarchal 
institution ; ' r the democratic Abrahams of Virginia 
do not offer up their Isaacs to the Lord ; that would 
be a "sacrifice," they only sell them. So] ; " she looks 
down from her elevated pedestal upon her parvenue, 
ignorant, mendacious Yankee vilifiers, as coldly and 
calmly as a marble statue ; occasionally, she conde- 
scends to recognize the existence of her adversaries 
at the very moment when she crushes them. But 
she does it without anger, and with no more hatred 
of them than the gardener feels towards the insects 
which he finds it necessary occasionally to destroy." 
" She feels that she is the sword and buckler of the 
South — that it is her influence which has so fre- 
quently defeated and driven back in dismay the 
Abolition party when flushed by temporary victory. 
Brave, calm, and determined, wise in times of excite- 
ment, always true to the Slave Power, never rash or 
indiscreet, the waves of Northern fanaticism burst 
harmless at her feet ; the contempt for her Northern 

35* 



414 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



revilers is the result of her consciousness of her in- 
fluence in the political world. She makes and un- 
makes Presidents; she dictates her terms to the 
Northern Democracy and they obey her. She selects 
from among the faithful of the North a man upon 
whom she can rely, and she makes him President." 
This latter is true! The opinion of Richmond is 
of more weight than the opinion of New York. 
Slavery, the political Gog on the outside, steers the 
ark of commercial Noah, and makes it rough or 
smooth weather inside, just as he likes. 

"In the early days of the Republic, the superior 
sagacity of her statesmen enabled them to rivet so 
firmly the shackles of the slave, that the Abolition- 
ists will never be able to unloose them." 

" A wide and impassable gulf separates the noble, 
proud, glorious Old Dominion from her Northern 
traducers ; the mastiff dare not willingly assail the 
skunk ! " " When Virginia takes the field, she 
crushes the whole Abolition party ; her slaughter is 
wholesale, and a hundred thousand Abolitionists are 
cut down when she issues her commands ! " 

Again, (April 4th, 1854,) "A hundred Southern 
gentlemen, armed with riding-whips, could chase 
an army of invading Abolitionists into the Atlantic." 

In reference to the project at the North of send- 
ing Northern Abolitionists along with the Northern 
Slave-breeders to Nebraska, to put freedom into the 
soil before Slavery gets there, the Examiner says : 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



415 



" Why, a hundred wild, lank, half-horse, half-alli- 
gator Missouri and Arkansas emigrants would, if so 
disposed, chase out of Nebraska and Kansas all the 
Abolitionists who have figured for the last twenty 
years at Anti- Slavery meetings." 

I say Slavery is not profitable for the Nation nor 
for a State, but it is profitable for Slave-owners. 
You will see why. If the Northern capitalist 
owned the weavers and spinners at Lowell and 
Lawrence, New England would be poorer ; and the 
working-men would not be so well off, or so well- 
educated; but Undershot and Overshot, Turbine 
Brothers, Spindle & Co., would be richer and would 
get larger dividends. Land monopoly in England 
enfeebles the island, but enriches the aristocracy. 
How poor, ill-fed and ill-clad were the French 
peasants before the revolution ; how costly was the 
chateau of the noble. Monopoly was bad for the 
people ; profitable for the rich men. How poor are 
the peasants in Italy; how wealthy the Cardinals 
and the Pope. Oppression enriches the oppressor ; 
it makes poorer the downtrodden. Piracy is very 
costly to the merchant and to mankind ; but it feeds 
the pirate. Slavery impoverishes Virginia, but it en- 
riches the master. It gives him money — commer- 
cial power, — office — political power. The slave- 
holder is drawn in his triumphal chariot by two 
chattels; one, the poor black man, whom he "owns 



416 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



legally ; " the other, is the poor white man, whom 
he " owns morally " and harnesses to his chariot. 
Hence these American lords of the lash, cleave to 
this institution — they love it. To the slaveholders, 
Slavery is money and power ! 

Now the South, weak in numbers, feeble in re- 
spect to money, has continually directed the politics 
of America, just as she would. Her ignorance and 
poverty were more efficacious than the northern 
riches and education. She is in earnest for Slavery; 
the North not in earnest for freedom ! only earnest 
for money. So long as the Federal Government 
grinds the axes of the northern merchant, he cares 
little whether the stone is turned by the free man's 
labor or the slave's. Hence, the great centres of 
northern commerce and manufactures are also the 
great centres of pro-slavery politics. Philadelphia, 
New York, Boston, Buffalo, Cincinnati, they all liked 
the Fugitive Slave Bill ; all took pains to seize the 
fugitive who fled to a Northern altar for freedom; 
nay, the most conspicuous clergymen in those cities 
became apostles of Kidnapping; their churches 
were of Commerce, not Christianity. The North 
yielded to that last most insolent demand. Under 
the influence of that excitement she chose the pres- 
ent Administration, the present Congress. Now 
see the result! Whig and Democrat meet on the 
same platform at Baltimore. It was the platform of 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



417 



Slavery. Both candidates — Scott and Pierce — 
gave in their allegiance to the same measure ; it 
was the measure which nullifies the first principles 
of American Independence — they were sworn on 
the Fugitive Slave Bill. Whig and Democrat 
knew no " Higher Law," only the statute of slave- 
holders. Conscience bent down before the Constitu- 
tion. What sort of a government can you expect 
from such conduct! What Representatives! Just 
what you have got. Sow the wind, will you ? then 
reap the whirlwind. ]\Ir. Pierce said in his Inaugu- 
ral, " I believe that involuntary servitude is recog- 
nized by the Constitution ; " " that it stands like any 
other admitted right. I hold that the Compromise 
measures, [that is, the Fugitive Slave Bill,] are 
strictly Constitutional and to be unhesitatingly car- 
ried into effect." The laws to secure the masters 
right to capture a man in the free States " should be 
respected and obeyed, not with a reluctance encour- 
aged by abstract opinions as to their propriety in a 
different state of Society, but cheerfully and accord- 
ing to the decision of the tribunal to which their 
exposition belongs." These words were historical, 
— reminiscences of the time when " no Higher 
Law" was the watchword of the American State 
and the American Church ; they were prophetic — 
ominous of what we see to-day. 

I. Here is the Gadsden Treaty which has just been 



418 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



negotiated. How bad it is I cannot say ; only this : 
If I am rightly informed, a tract of 39.000,000 acres, 
larger than all Virginia, is "reannexed" to the slave 
soil which the " flag of our Union " already waves 
over. The whole thing, when it is fairly understood 
by the public, I think will be seen to be a more 
iniquitous matter than this Nebraska wickedness. 

II. Then comes the Nebraska bill, yet to be con- 
summated. While we are sitting here in cold de- 
bate, it may be the measure has passed. From the 
beginning I^ave never had any doubts that it would 
pass. If it could not be put through this session — 
as I thought it would — I felt sure that before this 
Congress goes out of office, Nebraska would be 
slave soil. You see what a majority there was in 
the Senate ; you see what a majority there is in the 
House. I know there is an opposition — and most 
brilliantly conducted, too, by the few faithful men ; 
but see this : The Administration has yet three years 
to run. There is an annual income of sixty millions 
of dollars. There are forty thousand offices to be 
disposed of — four thousand very valuable. And do 
you think that a Democratic Administration, with 
that amount of offices, of money and time, cannot 
buy up northern doughfaces enough to carry any 
measure it pleases ? I know better. Once I thought 
that Texas could not be annexed. It was done. I 
learned wisdom from that. I have taken counsel 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 419 



of my fears. I have not seen any barrier on which 
the North would rally that we have come to yet. 
There are some things behind us. John Randolph 
said, years ago, " We will drive you from pillar to 
post, back, back, back." He has been as good as his 
word. We have been driven "back, back, back." 
But we cannot be driven much further. There is a 
spot where we shall stop. I am afraid we have not 
come to it yet. I will say no more about it just now 

— because not many weeks ago I stood here and 
said a great deal.* You have listened to me when 
I was feeble and hollow-voiced ; I will 4iot tax your 
patience now, for in this, as in a celebrated feast of 
old, they have " kept the good wine until now ! " 
(alluding to I\Ir. Garrison and Mr. Phillips who were 
to follow). 

If the Nebraska bill is defeated, I shall rejoice that 
iniquity is foiled once more. But if it become a law 

— there are some things which seem probable. 

L On the Fourth of March, 1857, the « Demo- 
crats " will have " leave to withdraw " from office. 

2. Every Northern man who has taken a promi- 
nent stand in behalf of Slavery will be politically 
ruined. You know what befell the Northern poli- 
ticians who voted for the Missouri Compromise ; a 
similar fate hangs over such as enslave Nebraska. 
Already, Mr. Everett is, theologically speaking, 



* See above p. 295, et seq. 



420 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



among the " lost ; " and of all the three thousand 
New England ministers whose petition he dared not 
present, not one will ever pray for his political sal- 
vation. 

Pause with me and drop a tear over the ruin of 
Edward Everett, a man of large talents and com- 
mensurate industry, very learned, the most scholarly 
man, perhaps, in the country, with a persuasive 
beauty of speech only equalled by this American 
[Mr. Phillips], who therein surpasses him ; he has 
had a long career of public service, public honor — 
Clergyman, Professor, Editor, Representative, Gov- 
ernor, Ambassador, President of Harvard College, 
Senator, alike the Ornament and the Auxiliary of 
many a learned Society — he yet comes to such an 
end. 

" This is the state of man ; to-day, he puts forth 
The tender leaves of hope ; to-morrow, blossoms, 
And bears his blushing honors thick upon him ; 
The third day comes a frost, Xebraska*s frost ; 
And, when he thinks, good easy man, full surely, 
His greatness is a ripening, nips his root, 
And then he falls . 

" O how wretched 
Is that poor man that hangs on public favors ! 
There is betwixt that smile he would aspire to, 
That sweet aspect of voters, and their ruin, 
More pangs and fears than wars or women have ; 
And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer, 
Never to hope again ! " 



CONDITION OP AMERICA. 



421 



Mr. Douglas also is finished : the success of his 
measure is his own defeat. Mr. Pierce has three 
short years to serve ; then there will be one more Ex- 
President — ranking with Tyler and Fillmore. Mr. 
Seward need not agitate, 

■ Let it work 

For 't is the sport to have the enginer 
Hoise with his own peter." 

III. The next thing is the enslavement of Cuba. 
That is a very serious matter. It has been desired a 
long time. Lopez, a Spanish fillibuster. undertook 
it and was legally put to death. I am not an advo- 
cate for the garrote*, but I think, all things taken into 
consideration, that he did not meet with a very, inad- 
equate mode of death, and I believe such is the gen- 
eral opinion, not only in Cuba, but in the United 
States. But Young America is not content with 
that. Mr. Dean, a little while ago, in the House, 
proposed to repeal the neutrality laws — to set filli- 
busterism on its legs again. You remember the 
President's message about the u Black Warrior ■ — 
how black- warrior-like it was ; and then comes the 
M unanimous resolution r of the Louisiana legisla- 
ture asking the United States to interfere and declare 
war, in case Cuba should undertake to emancipate 
her slaves. Senator SlidelTs speech is still tingling 
in our ears, asking the government to repeal the neu- 

VOL. i. 36 



422 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



trality laws and allow every pirate who pleases to 
land in Cuba and burn and destroy. You know 
Mr. Soule's conduct in Madrid. It is rumored that 
he has been authorized to offer $250,000,000 for 
Cuba. The sum is enormous ; but when you consider 
the character of this administration and the Inau- 
gural of President Pierce, the unscrupulous abuse 
made of public money, I do not think it is. a very 
extraordinary supposition. 

But this matter of getting possession of Cuba is 
something dangerous as well as difficult. There are 
three conceivable ways of acquiring it. 

One is by buying, and that I take it is wholly out 
of the question. If I am rightly informed, there is 
a certain Spanish debt owing to Englishmen, and 
that Cuba is somehow pledged as a sort of collateral 
security for the Spanish Bonds. I take it for granted 
that Cuba is not to be bought for many years with- 
out the interference of England, and depend upon it 
England will not allow it to be sold for the establish- 
ment of Slavery ; for I think it is pretty well under- 
stood by politicians that there is a regular agreement 
entered into between Spain on the one side and Eng- 
land on the other, that at a certain period within 
twenty five years every slave in Cuba shall be set 
free. I believe this is known to men somewhat 
versed in the secret history of the two Cabinets of 
England and of Spain. England has the same wish 
for land which fires our Anglo-Saxon blood. She 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



423 



has islands in the West Indies ; the Moro in Cuba 
is only a hundred miles from Jamaica. If we get 
Cuba for Slavery, we shall next want the British 
West Indies for the same institution. Cuba filled 
with fillibusters would be a dangerous neighbor to 
Jamaica. 

The second way is by filibustering ; and that Mr. 
Slidell and Mr. Dean want to try. The third is by 
open war. Now, fillibusterism will lead to open 
war, so I will consider only this issue. 

I know that Americans will fight more desperately, 
perhaps, on land or sea, than any other people. But 
fighting is an ugly business, especially with such an- 
tagonists as we shall have in this case. It is a mat- 
ter well understood that the Captain- General of 
Cuba has a paper in his possession authorizing him 
discretionally to free the slaves and put arms in their 
hands whenever it is thought necessary. It is rather 
difficult to get at the exact statistics of Cuba. There 
has been no census since 1842, when the population 
was estimated at a million. I will reckon it now at 
1,300,000 — 700,000 blacks, and 600,000 whites. Of 
the 700,000 blacks, half a million are slaves and two 
hundred thousand free men. Now, a black free man 
in Cuba is a very different person from the black free 
man in the United States. He has rights. He is 
not turned out of the omnibus, nor the meeting- 
house, nor the graveyard. He is respected by the 
law ; he respects himself, and is a formidable person ; 



424 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



let the blacks be furnished with arms, they are dan- 
gerous foes. And remember there are mountain fast- 
nesses in the centre of the island ; that it is as de- 
fensible as St. Domingo ; and has a very unhealthy 
climate for Northern men. The Spaniard would 
have great allies : the vomito is there ; typhoid, dys- 
entery, yellow fever, the worst of all, is there. A 
Northern army even of filibusters would fight 
against the most dreadful odds. " The Lord from 
on high," as the old Hebrews say, would fight 
against the Northern men ; the pestilence that swept 
off Sennacharib's host would not respect the filli- 
buster. 

That is not all. What sort of a navy has Spain ? 
One hundred and seventy-nine ships of war ! They 
are small mostly, but they carry over 1,400 cannon, 
and 24,000 men — 15,000 marines and 9,000 sail- 
ors. The United States has seventy-five ships of war ; 
2,200 cannon, 14,000 men — large ships, heavy can- 
non. That is not all. Spaniards fight desperately. 
A Spanish Armada 1 should not be very much afraid 
of; but Spain will issue letters of marque, and a 
Portuguese or Spanish pirate is rather an uncom- 
fortable being to meet. Our commerce is spread over 
all the seas ; there is no mercantile marine so unpro- 
tected. Our ships do not carry muskets, still less 
cannon, since pirates have been swept off the sea. 
Let Spain issue letters of marque, England winking 
at it, and Algerine pirates from out the Barbary 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



425 



States of Africa, and other pirates from the Brazilian, 
Mexican, and the West Indian ports, would prowl 
about the coast of the Mediterranean and over all 
the bosom of the Atlantic ; and then where would be 
our commerce ? The South has nothing to fear from 
that. She has no shipping. Yes, Norfolk has 
23,000 tons. The South is not afraid. The North 
has four million tons of shipping. Touch the 
commerce of a Northern man, and you touch his 
heart. 

England has conceded to us as a measure just 
what we asked. We have always declared, "free 
ships make free goods." England said " Enemies' 
goods make enemies' ships." Now she has not af- 
firmed our Principle ; she has assented to our Meas- 
ure. That is all you can expect her to do. But if 
we repeal our neutrality laws and seek to get Cuba 
in order to establish Slavery there, endangering the 
interests of England and the freedom of her colored 
citizens, depend upon it, England will not suffer this 
to be done without herself interfering. If she is so 
deeply immersed in European wars that she cannot 
interfere directly, she will indirectly. But I have 
not thought that England and France are to be 
much engaged in a European war. I suppose the 
intention of the American Cabinet is to seize Cuba 
as soon as the British and Russians are fairly fight- 
ing, thinking that England will not interfere. But in 
" this war of elder sons " which now goes on for the 
36* 



426 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



dismemberment of Turkey, it is not clear that Eng- 
land will be so deeply engaged that she cannot at- 
tend to her domestic affairs, or the interest of her 
West Indies. I think these powers are going to 
divide Turkey between them, but I do not believe 
they are going to do much fighting there. If we are 
bent on seizing Cuba, a long and ruinous fight is a 
thing that ought to enter into men's calculations. 
Now, let such a naval warfare take place, and how 
will your insurance stock look in New York, Phila- 
delphia, and Boston ? How will your merchants look 
when reports come one after another that your ships 
are carried in as prizes by Spain, or sunk on the 
ocean after they have been plundered ? I speak in 
the great commercial metropolis of America. I wish 
these things to be seriously considered by mercantile 
men. Let the Northern men look out for their own 
ships. 

But here is a matter which the South may think 
of. In case of foreign war, the North will not be 
the battle field. An invading army would attack the 
South. Who would defend it — the local militia, 
the " Chivalry " of South Carolina, the " gentlemen " 
of Virginia, who are to slaughter a hundred thou- 
sand Abolitionists in a day ? Let an army set foot 
on Southern soil, with a few black regiments ; let 
the commander offer freedom to all the Slaves, and 
put arms in their hands ; let him ask them to burn 
houses and butcher men ; and there would be a state 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



427 



of things not quite so pleasant for " gentlemen " of 
the South to look at. " They that laughed at the 
grovelling worm and trod on him, may cry and howl 
when they see the stoop of the flying and fiery- 
mouthed dragon ! " Now, there is only one opinion 
about the valor of President Pierce. Like the sword 
of Hudibras, it cut into itself, 

" for lack 

Of other stuff to hew and hack." 

But would he like to stand with such a fire in his 
rear ? Set a house on fire by hot shot, and you do 
not know how much of it will burn down. 

IV. Well, if Nebraska is made a slave territory, 
as I suppose it will be, the next thing is the posses- 
sion of Cuba. Then the war against Spain will 
come, as I think, inevitably. But even if we do not 
get Cuba, Slavery must be extended to other parts of 
the Union. This may be done judicially, by the 
Supreme Court — one of the most powerful agents to 
destroy local self-government and legalize centraliza- 
tion ; or legislatively by Congress. Already Slavery 
is established in California. An attempt, you know, 
was made to establish it in Illinois. - Senator 
Toombs, the other day, boasted to Mr. John P. Hale, 
that it would " not be long before the slaveholder 
would sit down at the foot of Bunker Hill monument 
with his slaves." You and I may live to see it — at 



428 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



least to see the attempt made. A writer in a promi- 
nent Southern journal, the Charleston Courier (of 
March 16, 1854), declares "that domestic Slavery is 
a constitutional institution and cannot be prohibited 
in a territory by either territorial or congressional 
legislation. It is recognized by the Constitution as 
an existing and lawful institution . . . and by 
the recognition and establishment of Slavery eo 
nomine in the District of Columbia, under the consti- 
tutional provision for the acquisition of and exclusive 
legislation over such a capitoline district ; and by 
that clause also which declares that the citizens of 
each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and 
immunities of citizens in the several States." " The 
citizens of any State . . . cannot be constitution- 
ally denied the equal right ... of sojourning or 
settling . . . with their man-servants and maid- 
servants ... in any portion of the wide spread 
Canaan which the Lord their God hath given them, 
there to dwell unmolested in person or property." 
Admirable exposition of the Constitution ! The 
free black man must be shut up in jail if he goes 
from Boston in a ship to Charleston, but the slave- 
holder may bring his slaves to Massachusetts and 
dwell there, unmolested with his property in men. 
South Carolina has a white population of 274,567 
persons, considerably less than half the population of 
this city. But if South Carolina says to the State of 
New York, with three million men in it, Let us bring 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



429 



our slaves to New York, what will the " Hards " and 
the " Softs " and the " Silver Greys " answer ? Gen- 
tlemen, we shall hear what we shall hear. I fear that 
not an office-holder of any note would oppose the 
measure. It might be carried with the present Su- 
preme Court, or Congress, I make no doubt. 

But this is not the end. After the Gadsden 
Treaty, the enslavement of Nebraska, the extension 
of Slavery to the free States, the seizure of Cuba, 
with other Islands — San Domingo, etc., — there is 
one step more — the Re-establishment of the 
African Slave-Trade. 

A recent number of the Southern Standard thus 
develops the thought : " With firmness and judg- 
ment we can open up the African slave emigration 
again to people the whole region of the tropics. 
We can boldly defend this upon the most enlarged 
system of philanthropy. It is far better for the wild 
races of Africa themselves." u The good old Las 
Casas, in 1519, was the first to advise Spain to 
import Africans to her colonies. . . . Experience 
has shown his scheme was founded in wise and 
Christian philanthropy. . . . The time is coming 
when we will boldly defend this emigration [kidnap- 
ping men in Africa and selling them in the i Chris- 
tian Republic '] before the world. The hypocritical 
cant and whining morality of the latter-day saints 
will die away before the majesty of commerce. . . . 



430 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



We have too long been governed by psalm-sing- 
ing schoolmasters from the North. . . . The folly- 
commenced in our own government uniting with 
Great Britain to declare slave-importing piracy." 
..." A general rupture in Europe would force 
upon us the undisputed sway of the Gulf of 
Mexico and the West Indies. . . . With Cuba and 
St. Domingo, we could control the . . . power of 
the world. Our true policy is to look to Brazil as 
the next great slave power. ... A treaty of com- 
merce and alliance with Brazil will give us the con- 
trol over the Gulf of Mexico and its border coun- 
tries, together with the islands ; and the consequence 
of this will place African Slavery beyond the reach 
of fanaticism at home or abroad. These two great 
slave powers . . . ought to guard and strengthen 
their mutual interests. . . . We can not only preserve 
domestic servitude, but we can defy the power 
of the world." ..." The time will come that all 
the islands and regions suited to African Slavery, 
between us and Brazil, will fall under the control of 
these two powers. ... In a few years there will 
be no investment for the $200,000,000 ... so 
profitable ... as the development ... of the tropi- 
cal regions " [that is as the African slave-trade.] 
. . . " If the slave-holding race in these States are 
but true to themselves, they have a great destiny be- 
fore them." 



GONDITION OF AMERICA. 



431 



Now, gentlemen and ladies, who is to blame that 
things have come to such a pass as this ? The 
South and the North; but the North much more 
than the South, very much more. Gentlemen, we 
let Gog get upon the Ark; we took pay for his 
passage. Our most prominent men in Church and 
State have sworn allegiance to Gog. But this is 
not always to last ; there is a day after to-day — a 
Forever behind each to-day. 

The North should to have fought Slavery at the 
adoption of the Constitution, and at every step 
since ; after the battle was lost then, we should 
have resisted each successive step of the Slave 
Power. But we have yielded — yielded continually. 
We made no fight over the annexation of slave 
territory, the admission of slave States. We ought 
to have rent the Union into the primitive townships 
sooner than consent to the Fugitive Slave Bill. 
But as we failed to fight manfully then, I never 
thought the North would rally on the Missouri 
Compromise line. I rejoice at the display of indig- 
nation I witness here and elsewhere. For once New 
York appears more moral than Boston. I thank 
you for it. A meeting is called in the Park to- 
morrow. It is high time ; though I doubt that the 
North will yet rally and defend even the line drawn 
in 1820. But there are two lines of defence where 
the Nation will pause, I think — the seizure and 
occupation of Cuba, with its war so destructive to 



432 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



Northern ships ; and the restoration of the African 
slave-trade. The slave-breeding States, Maryland, 
Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, will op- 
pose the last ; for if the Gulf States and the future 
tropical territories can import Africans at one hun- 
dred dollars a head, depend upon it, that will spoil 
the market for the slave-breeders of America. And, 
gentlemen, if Virginia cannot sell her own children, 
how will this "well-born, well-educated, well-bred 
aristocrat" look down on the poor and ignorant 
Yankee, when the " gentlemen " of the Old Domin- 
ion do not bring a high price in the flesh-market. 
No, this iniquity is not to last forever! A certain 
amount of force will compress a cubic foot of water 
into nine tenths of its natural size ; but beyond that, 
the weight of the whole earth cannot make it any 
smaller. Even the North is not infinitely compressi- 
ble. When atom touches atom, you may take off 
the screws. 

Things cannot continue long in this condition. 
Every triumph of Slavery is a day's march towards 
its ruin. There is no Higher Law, is there ? " He 
taketh the wise in their own craftiness." " The 
council of the wicked is carried," — aye, but it is 
carried headlong. 

Only see what a change has come over our spirit 
just now. Three years ago, Isaiah Eynders and 
Hiram Ketchum domineered over New York. Those 
gentlemen who are to follow me, and whom you are 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



433 



impatient to hear, were mobbed down in this city, 
two years ago; they could not find a hall which 
would be leased to them for money or love, and had 
to adjourn to Syracuse to hold their convention. 
Look at this assembly now. 

A little while ago all the leading clergymen were 
in favor of the Fugitive Slave Bill ; now three 
thousand of New England's ministers remonstrate 
against Nebraska. They know there is a fire in 
their rear, and, in theological language, it is a fire 
that " is not quenched ; " it goeth not out by day ; 
and there is no night there. The clergymen stand 
between eternal torment on one side, and the " little 
giant of Slavery " on the other. They do not turn 
back! Two thousand English clergymen once be- 
came non-conformists in a single day. Three thou- 
sand New England ministers remonstrated against 
the enslavement of Nebraska. When the " gentle- 
men of the Old Dominion " find their sons and 
daughters do not bring a high price in the flesh- 
markets of the South, they will doubt the " divinity 
of Slavery." 

Now is the time to push and be active, call meet- 
ings, bring out men of all parties, all forms of re- 
ligion ; agitate, agitate, agitate. Make a fire in the 
rear of the Government and the representatives. 
The South is weak — only united. The North is 
strong in money, in men, in education, in the justice 
of our great cause — only not united for freedom. 

vol. i. 37 



434 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



Be faithful to ourselves and Slavery will come down, 
not slowly, as I thought once, but when the people 
of the North say so, it shall come down with a 
great crash ! 

Then when we are free from this plague-spot of 
Slavery — the curse to our industry, our education, 
our politics, and our religion — we shall increase 
more rapidly in numbers and still more abundantly 
be rich. The South will be as the North — active, 
intelligent — Virginia rich as New York, the Caro- 
linas as active as Massachusetts. Then, by peace- 
ful purchase, the Anglo-Saxon may acquire the rest 
of this North American Continent, — for the Span- 
iards will make nothing of it. Nay, we may honor- 
ably go further South, and possess the Atlantic and 
Pacific slopes of the Southern continent, extending 
the area of Freedom at every step. We may carry 
thither the Anglo-Saxon vigor and enterprise, the 
old love Of liberty, the love also of law; the best 
institutions of the present age — ecclesiastical, politi- 
cal, social, domestic. 

Then what a nation we shall one day become* 
America, the mother of a thousand Anglo-Saxon 
States, tropic and temperate, on both sides the 
Equator, may behold the Mississippi and the Ama- 
zon uniting their waters, the drainage of two vast 
continents in the Mediterranean of the Western 
World ; may count her children at last by hundreds 
of millions — and amon'g them all behold no tyrant 



CONDITION OF AMERICA. 



435 



and no slave ! What a spectacle — the Anglo- 
Saxon Family occupying a whole hemisphere, with 
industry, freedom, religion ! It is our function to 
fulfil this vision ; we are the voluntary instruments 
of God. Shall America scorn the mission He 
sends her on ? Then let us all perish, and may 
Russia teach justice to mankind ! 



END OF VOL. I. 



»